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Picture of generosity in East County

Waterlefe Artist Guild gives $2,000 donations to art programs at Freedom Elementary and Haile Middle.

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Cheryl Meehan, the art teacher at Freedom Elementary School, said she felt like crying in her classroom Jan. 21 after members of the Waterlefe Artist Guild handed her a check for $2,000.

“It’s overwhelming because I’ve never had this much to spend,” Meehan said.

For the past three years, the Waterlefe Artist Guild has used a raffle at its annual art show to raise money for the art programs at Freedom Elementary and Carlos E. Haile Middle School. The organization was able to double its donation from last year to give each school $2,000.

“We try to raise enough money to present something meaningful,” said Judy Kovalski-Swartz, a Waterlefe Artist Guild member.

Meehan and Joe Gibson, the art teacher at Haile, have to find outside revenue sources to fund their programs at the schools. Meehan sometimes receives money from grants, and Haile hosts an art show every year. Meehan teaches about 650 students this year, and Gibson teaches 226 students.

With the donation, Gibson will purchase oil paints, canvases and other supplies.

“It opens up a whole lot of avenues to me as a teacher to show kids different things and teach different techniques,” he said.

Meehan plans to purchase watercolor and gouache pan sets for her students.

“The biggest hurdle about being an art teacher is having supplies that are engaging to kids,” she said. “That’s half the battle.”


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