Raul Yzaguirre School For Success [RYSS] - Crespo Fine Arts Academy Mentorship Workshop
[January 13, 2010]

Thirteen middle school students from Raul Yzaguirre School for Success [RYSS] traveled to the Crespo Elementary Fine Arts Magnet School to mentor 26 fifth grade students in the use of graphics software to create digital art.

The RYSS students learned how to use the software from Tom R. Chambers, Technology Applications teacher. They used the software during the first semester of the school year to make digital art for a vocabulary building project based on the Grade 7 TEKS/TAKS Science vocabulary. The digital art creations of Chambers' students have been on display in galleries for the last two years, locally, as well as internationally at the 4th and 5th Annual Carnival of e-Creativity and Change-agents Conclave in the new Himalayan Indian state of Uttarakhand, India.

Chambers takes student engagement and empowerment so seriously that most of what is learned and produced transcends the classroom and school system to have community and international impact. As a result, his students are motivated to do more, and in this case, they became mentors for students at another school.

This mentorship process involved an intensive morning session of learning and practicing, and an afternoon session of project application to make digital art. The RYSS seventh grade students succeeded in not only keeping the attention of the fifth graders, but also making the students comfortable with the software and producing gratifying results. The two groups were so engaged throughout the day that the teachers present during the process seemed secondary. The RYSS students had successfully gained a skill and were empowered to convey what they knew to others.

Chambers believes this mentorship project between RYSS and Crespo Elementary Fine Arts Magnet School is a first, at least for Houston's East End, where these schools are located. Whatever the case, the program set a precedent, and there is discussion of it being implemented at other schools. Chambers stated, "I'm always proud of all of my students, but I am particularly proud of these 13 seventh graders who eagerly took on the challenge of doing more for themselves, their school and their community."

Photographs and a movie follow to indicate the degree of activity and working relationship between the RYSS and Crespo students:

RYSS - Crespo Workshop movie

Click on player to the right.

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News Articles:

"RYSS Middle School Art Students Make Education History in Houston's East End", The Community Leader, Tejano Center for Community Concerns, Volume 3, No. 1, 2010.

"Una comunidad de estudiantes", La Voz de Houston, Houston Chronicle, Texas, February 18, 2010.

"RYSS mentors make a difference", Ultimate East End, Houston, Texas, January 22, 2010.