GIVING — Mailee Pearl Sewell  adds color to her artwork that will be sold at First Friday to benefit hurricane victims.
Herald Photo / Jenn Goad
GIVING — Mailee Pearl Sewell adds color to her artwork that will be sold at First Friday to benefit hurricane victims. Herald Photo / Jenn Goad

After being touched by the devastation of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, fifth-grade students at Wallace Elementary School of Integrated Arts decided to take action to help others in need. 

A simple letter was composed and presented to principal Charley Hinkle, asking for assistance in leading a fundraiser to benefit others, thousands of miles away.

Hinkle said a trio of girls approached him and began to talk about what they wanted to do and how they wanted to accomplish their goal. He reminded the girls that immediate aid was necessary, but the cities affected by the devastating storms and floods would continue to need help, long after the hourly news updates stopped or the next major disaster hit.

The original idea was for a food drive, but the idea evolved into adopting classrooms and raising money to purchase specific items for school children.

“Mr. Hinkle said they would probably need other things, too, so it became about helping schools get what they need,” said fifth grader Mailee Pearl Sewell.

In order to achieve their goal, Sewell and classmates Samantha McClelland and Aviannah Pollard teamed up and asked each student in their school to create at least one small piece of art that could be sold. Each classroom would also be responsible for a larger piece of art that would be auctioned off.

During First Friday in downtown Kokomo, students from Wallace Elementary will perform their signature Halloween dance, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at Superior V from 6 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. During that time, the student-created art full of positive messages will be on sale for $5 each.

All proceeds will be used to purchase school supplies and other items for students at Northside High School, part of the Houston Independent School District.

“The money that we raise, we are going to buy school supplies and things they need on Amazon and ship it right to them in Texas,” McClelland said.

The artwork created by the students displays messages of encouragement and kindness, something Sewell took greatly to heart.

Sewell created two pieces so far. One is a sunset on the ocean with pastel colors. Her other piece, her first, depicts a lone sprout growing from a dark ground. 

“I did a dark ground and started out with a dark sky, and it got lighter. It has a green sprout coming out of the dark ground,” she said. “It means that even though there is dark right now, something good will come out of it. Everything will be back. Happiness will return.”

The girls hope to raise $1,500 to purchase all of the supplies on their wish list of basic school supplies and snacks.