Lauralton students connect with Peru through Memory Project

Lauralton Hall Art Club students, from left, Teresa Starzecki, '11, of Shelton, Chloe Walker, '11, of Fairfield, and Emma Molloy, '10, of New Canaan, pose with the portraits they created of orphaned children in Peru as part of a nationwide program called The Memory Project.
Lauralton Hall Art Club students, from left, Teresa Starzecki, ’11, of Shelton, Chloe Walker, ’11, of Fairfield, and Emma Molloy, ’10, of New Canaan, pose with the portraits they created of orphaned children in Peru as part of a nationwide program called The Memory Project.Contributed Photo

Art Club students at Lauralton Hall have joined the Memory Project, a nationwide initiative in which art students create original portraits for children living in orphanages around the world.

Given that children who have been abandoned, orphaned, abused, or neglected often have few personal keepsakes, the purpose of the portraits is to provide them with a special memory of their youth, to honor their heritage and identity, and to help them build a positive self image. The project also provides an opportunity for young Americans to open their hearts to children who have endured many hardships, and to promote the value of sharing kindness with others.

Students at Lauralton Hall are involved with this organization as an Art Club project thanks to art student Teresa Starzecki of Shelton, class of 2011, who contacted the director of the Memory Project, Ben Schumaker, and told him that eight Art Club students were interested in creating portraits for the children. The Lauralton art club students created portraits for children living at an orphanage in Peru. Once the portraits have been delivered to the orphaned children, the student artists will then receive pictures of the children holding their portraits.

The Lauralton Hall Art Club is co-moderated by art teachers Liz Musante and Judith Doherty. Art club members include Davian Manlapit, '11, of Bridgeport; Meaghan Knox, '10, of Norwalk; Rebecca Mancini, '12, of Shelton; Chloe Walker, '11, of Fairfield; Teresa Starzecki, '11, of Shelton; Mary Watson, '11, of Trumbull; Emma Molloy, '10, of New Canaan; and Catherine Amato, '11, of Orange.

The Memory Project has been featured on national television several times, most notably when Katie Couric concluded her first broadcast of the CBS Evening News with a story about the project's success at an orphanage in Nicaragua.

The Memory Project is a program of the nonprofit organization My Class Cares based in Madison, Wisc. Since the project began in 2004, more than 25,000 portraits have been produced by high school art students around the country. For more information, visit www.thememoryproject.org