Soldiers, students create a work of art
February 9, 2012
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Mountainside Elementary School officials unveiled their 15-foot papier-mâché marionette art project during a ceremony at the school Feb. 3.
Soldiers of the 759th Military Police Battalion spent two weeks helping the students build the project based on the book "Diary of a Wimpy Kid."
"We were so amazed at how much the students did by themselves," said Capt. Nicole Lopez, 759th MP Bn. "One day we turned our back for five minutes and the children built a whole building by themselves."
The book is about a middle school student and his struggles at school. The Mountainside Elementary School depicted the main character of the book as a large marionette surrounded by buildings and superheroes made out of papier-mâché.
"We wanted kids to feel like they are superheroes," said Lynn Zupans, Mountainside Elementary School principal. "We believe every kid is a superhero."
Zupans has been the school's principal for the last 12 years and this was the fourth year of creating art projects.
"I wish we had been doing this project for the past 12 years," Zupans said.
The art project will stay in the school's lobby all year. In other years, the school built projects with themes based on "Where the Wild Things Are" and "Dinotopia."
"We are teaching them that great things can be done when we all work together," Zupans said. "(The 759th MP Bn.) has been the best partner we've ever had, and the kids really look forward to (the project)."
The Soldiers helped a few hours every day for two weeks on the project as part of the Adopt-A-School program. This program gives units the opportunity to sponsor a local school. The 759th MP Bn. sponsors the Mountainside Elementary School.
"The whole command has made a commitment to help us with anything we need help with," Zupans said. "Both the students and Soldiers benefit from this commitment."
Four Soldiers attended the opening ceremony dressed in costumes along with the students.
"Our unit was all for the project," Lopez said. "They really want us to get involved."
The Soldiers assist in many projects throughout the year from field trips to providing crossing guards around the school.
"Most of the time we came to the school in uniform and the students tell us that their mom or dad is in the Army," Lopez said. "I think they can really relate to us."
About 100 Families worked on the art project with the students and Soldiers the Saturday before the unveiling.
"It was just amazing to watch everyone working together on this project," Zupans said. "Great things can be created when everyone works together."