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Students Contribute Art For Relay
Drawing free hand, painting and sprinkling with glitter, children at Crossroads Elementary School are making many of the luminaria - paper bags lit from within by a candle - for this year's Riverbank Relay for Life.

Simple in concept but individual in design, the flickering lamps that line the walking course are often marked with a cancer survivor or victim's name and evocative of the energy and emotion associated with this event.

Starting with a plain paper bag marked with the American Cancer Society logo, fourth graders in Shawn Choate's art class have been busy recently applying their own designs based on some ideas listed by their teacher.

"You run for 24 hours to get money to find a cure for cancer," is how young Nicole Hollerfield explained the event to be conducted this year on May 30 and 31 at the Riverbank High track.

The 24-hour event features team members on the track the entire time, though they do not have to run. Walking is fine and each team member takes a turn on the track, so the team itself - not an individual - is on the track for 24 hours.

"Hope, Faith, Yes We Can, Find A Cure, Celebrate Life, Save A Life, Light The World," were some of the verbal ideas scrawled on the blackboard in the classroom as students created their colorful messages of hope.

Emblems on the luminaria ranged from blossoms and flowers to candles, ribbons, flags and sunflower heads.

"Use your fingers rather than a paint brush and use light colors like pink and white. Dark colors tend to be sad," Choate encouraged her students.

Working with fourth and fifth grade classes and having about a week to prepare the bags, she was planning to turn out about 300 of the decorated bags.

"If you participate, you get a T-shirt and you may be asked to join a team," she told her class. "Then you get to stay up all night and run or walk around the track. You are making lights for all those who fought cancer or who have survived it."

The Crossroads children got this project because of a connection to the event. One of the Riverbank Relay's organizers, Robin Lust, has a daughter who works in the school's office and asked Choate if she could make an art project of the luminaria.