Students from the Education through Art and Culture class at River Homelink are showing their support for their classmate Keaton who has a severe illness. Keaton hasn’t been able to attend school lately because of his treatments but the class still works to support him and bring him joy. The first- through third-grade class films videos to send to Keaton, updating him on what they are doing and anything they would like to tell him.
The class started sending the videos Feb. 21 in hopes of brightening his day.
“One video was about things we learned in class and another video we made was just the kids telling about things happening in their lives.” said class teacher Deanna Recinos. “The kind of things that kids would share with each other during recess. We wanted Keaton to feel like he was up-to-date on what was happening in class, (and) what was happening in his friends’ lives that was important to them.”
After the videos, the class wanted to step up their support so they started planning out matching hats for both themselves and Keaton. Recinos asked one of the students’ parents, Jessica Whiston, to look into getting the hats made and how much it would cost. That same day Whiston asked Haris Hadziselimovic where he has the embroidery done for his real estate business.
When Hadziselimovic heard Keaton’s story, he wanted to take part and told Whiston not to worry, that he would take care of it. He then ordered the hats and paid for everything.
“I was inspired by hearing the struggle this family is going through and seeing how the classmates and his teachers are trying to show him support,” Hadziselimovic said. “I thought the idea to wear hats is awesome as it unites them together, even though he’s at home.”
On April 1 the class of first- through third-graders were presented with black baseball hats that were embroidered with Lego font displaying “EAC,” short for Education through Art and Culture. The class chose to use a Lego font because of Keaton’s love for them.
The class filmed the presentation of the hats on April 1 so they could share the experience with Keaton. Hadziselimovic passed out the hats and each child eagerly put one on their head before giving their message to Keaton.
The class has learned a lot about helping people through this process.
“This has been a bonding experience for the class,” Recinos said. “The students have learned a lot about grit and perseverance when facing difficult times. We have all learned from Keaton to be strong and to keep a positive attitude.”
Overall, this has been a very rewarding experience for everyone involved.
“The most rewarding part for me was knowing that this brought some joy out of a hard situation for Keaton, his family, and his classmates,” Recinos said. “I became a teacher to make a difference in other people’s lives. It’s not always about the academics, the most important thing you can do for a student is to show that you care. A small gesture can make a large impact. In this case, I’ve just tried to do a couple of small things to show Keaton that he is still very much a part of our class.”