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Mural presentation culminated student Careers experience

By Adrienne Teague, University Relations Intern

Fifty local middle and high school students shared their definition of community when they recently presented a mural to Alexian Brothers Senior Neighbors. The students have just completed a six-week summer program in Allied Health Careers.

Carl Raus, CAREERS
Program Manager

Careers is a grant-based program that is hosted at UTC and encourages awareness, recruitment, education, enrollment, and retention for students seriously considering becoming health professionals. Carl Raus, director of the program and UTC professor of physical therapy, gave the Careers students a little twist on their learning experience for their community service project.

Each student was given one square and, with the help of an artist, they had to assemble artwork to depict what their communities have taught them. Raus captured the aura that surrounded the unveiling saying, “Students, did you ever think that you could fit so much emotion and wisdom into six inches?” And these students have done just that.

Erresha Jackson, 21st Century
School, 8th Grade

While some chose to illustrate families coming together to form communities, others chose to capture the larger of sense of community in the world.

Erresha Jackson's
contribution to the mural

Bilal Sheikh, a tenth grader at Hixson High School chose his grandfather as the inspiration behind his square. On Friday, Sheikh began to tell the crowd that his grandfather wanted his grandchildren to be proud of who they are, and that included their religion. With Sheikh’s Islamic religious background, he had an interesting view on the global issue of religious based differences. “I wished people would see that the terrorists attacks that have occurred are not Muslim based. The terrorists may claim to be, but they are not Muslim. Our religion does not support terrorism. Whether someone becomes a terrorist depends on their individual faith and beliefs,” said Sheikh.

The students’ mural presentation was well received by the Senior Neighbors themselves, including Ladd Duryea. “It is impressive to see these students demonstrate their piece of life. You can’t avoid reflecting yourself in all you do in life,” said Duryea.

Visitors admire the
Careers mural
Before the reveal was made at the Newby Center Annex of Alexian Brothers Senior Neighbors, Raus explained that the mural would travel. It will be rotated throughout the Alexian Brothers facilities, so that the fifty stories of community will be shared throughout the community.

“Everyone has their own life story, and their own thing to say, which I think will be obvious when people look at this mural,” said Schoyler Heath, 15, a 21st Century High School freshmen and participant of Careers.

The Careers program has opened the door for many young students to begin preparing to receive a college education, including Erresha Jackson, 13, a 21st Century Middle School eighth grader.

“This program taught me how to be successful, and it has shown me about the different careers and professions that I can go into. The program opened my eyes to the steps I need to take in order to get into college, “ said Jackson.

The students appreciated the UTC professors and Hamilton County teachers who teamed up to teach them about CPR, first aid, ethical behavior, nutrition, cultural competencies, infection control, and much more. In addition to lessons, instructors took the group on several field trips to local medical facilities including Siskin, Erlanger, and Benchmark, to name a few.

“I’ve really enjoyed this group, I have watched the students mature and develop. They are very motivated, and you can see that because they chose to be here. They are a great bunch of kids. We, as teachers, get as much out of the program that they have,” said Lisa Callegari, a Careers instructor.

As the students developed throughout the program, they developed knowledge of medicine and an appreciation for the world around them.

Student Schoyler Heath leaves us all with a little reminder, “A community shows us that we shouldn’t hold back on our dreams of having a perfect world. We only have one life to live, so we need to get out in the world and do something, and not wait on someone else to do it for us.”

July 26, 2005

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