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The Big Read

Local artist helps students with classic literature

Freshman students of Beth Mawdsley-Sherwood's Honors English 9 class at Holland High School, along with students of Joe Dummer's and Jay Wood's American Studies class at Holland New Tech, recently participated in The Big Read Holland Area, a National Endowment of the Arts program to encourage the reading of classic literature. Organized by Hope College and the Herrick District Library, students read, analyzed and studied the featured novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

Holland alumnus and local, honored artist Joel Schoon-Tanis worked with the students to form deep, creative, artist responses as part of the community-wide reading event.  

"It has been an honor to have a once in a lifetime experience to work together with award-winning, local artist Joel Schoon-Tanis throughout the Big Read program," said honors student Lillian Minnebo. "Throughout the days that he was able to visit, he navigated us through the process of translating the ideas and words of the novel To Kill a Mockingbird into artistic illustrations."

Each class chose a theme and presented their projects in relation to the novel.

"Being part of the Big Read program, we believe it has shaped our classroom, community and lives as a whole to recognize how the development of literature has impacted the world," said honors student Karen Lin. "It has been a complete and total honor to be part of this incredible experience."

The artwork was showcased at the Holland Museum on Nov. 21. Honors English 9 students who shared their projects include Ashton Maloney, Lindsey Heidema, Grace Woudenberg, Kayla Hemmeke, Chandler White, Yassmine Duenas and Ellison Pratley.

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