TOWN OF BELOIT - Monsters invaded Powers Elementary School on Wednesday morning, as Turner High School students breathed life into first graders' drawings.
The colorful monsters spanned all different shapes and had different features, including some that had three heads, while others were heart-shaped. Many looked as though they came from the pages of an illustrated children's book.
Powers Elementary School principal Vickie Smith said the first graders drew their own monsters at the beginning of the school year, then high schoolers enrolled in art classes used clay and paint to create three-dimensional sculptures of the younger students' drawings. The high schoolers presented the first graders with their three-dimensional monsters on Wednesday and worked with them to create a back story for their creations.
"The kids love it," Smith said. "By this time they've forgotten about the drawings they made in the beginning of the year, so when they hear about the high schoolers coming they're confused. When they see the creations they get so excited. At the end of the day they protect their monsters with their lives when they carry them back home."
Smith said she loves that the high schoolers and first graders are able to interact.
"The high schoolers are quiet at first and slowly begin to open up, and by the end of the day they're smiling, giving the first graders hugs and pulling out their phone to take pictures with them," Smith said. "They form a connection."
High school art teachers Mindy Warden and Annie Dudgeon work with their counterparts in the elementary school - Jodi Schieldt and Janelle Logterman - to turn more than 100 drawings into three-dimensional creations.
Warden said four different art classes at the high school worked over the last few months to create all of these happy monsters.
"It's been a lot of work, but this is the reward," Warden said as high schoolers and first graders gossiped about their monsters on Wednesday.
She said this is the third year high schoolers have brought first graders' monstrous creations to life.
First grader Brynley Potter said she loved senior Mya Bosco's take on her creation, a four-armed lanky blue creature who she called "Honey Potter."
"It was fun to see her smile. That was the best part," Bosco said. "I also loved working with all the colors.
Brynley said "Honey" loves to run around. Brynley and Honey also spent Wednesday morning playing with Braelyn Faralli's monster "Alexander Hamilton." Faralli said Alexander loves to play basketball.
First grader Kallie Rucker loved her creation of a little heart monster called Snuggles. Rucker said snuggles likes to play with her friends and walk her dog.
Smith said the district hopes to continue to use monsters to bring students of all ages together.