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High school students ‘going green'

• Class teaches them to be creative in environmentally-friendly ways.

Posted: April 24, 2008 2:04 a.m.
Updated: June 25, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Lorin Brown, right, a second-year Cal Arts graphic design student, oversees the silkscreening technique of Academy of the Canyons senior Priscilla Sahagun-Guevara, middle, and West Ranch senior Elizabeth Alexander on Tuesday.

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A class at California Institute of the Arts is teaching local high school students about the environment and then encouraging them to use what they've learned for inspiration to create hands-on projects.

"Going Green" is being taught at the Valencia arts institute as part of its Community Arts Partnership program, which provides college-level arts training and practice to Los Angeles area youth ages 10 to 18.

"The goal of this class is to help these students become more socially responsible and to inspire them creatively," said CalArts and Going Green instructor Shelley Stepp.

The class, which has been meeting on Tuesdays since Feb. 5, is made up of 12 - 15 local high school students and one junior high student. The students have been reading books, watching movies and doing projects like calculating their carbon footprints in order to help them decide what creative projects to pursue based on their new knowledge.

Wearing a T-shirt decorated with her own leaf design that she made in the class, Priscilla Sahagun-Guevara, a senior at Academy of the Canyons, said she has always been pretty "green" in regards to her attitude about the environment, but the Going Green class has taught her to be more creative and to express herself.

"That was my main reason for taking this class," she said. "I've also always wanted to learn how to silk screen."

Over the past couple of months, the students have created their own environmental designs and silk-screened them onto T-shirts and reusable bags, to encourage people to protect the environment.

"We can give the bags as presents, so people can take them to the grocery store to use instead of plastic bags," Priscilla said.

West Ranch senior Elizabeth Alexander said that she has learned as much about programming and using computers as she has about being green during the class.

"(The class) has just kind of opened our eyes and we used the things we learned to inspire us, and to try to make a difference,' Elizabeth said.

While Elizabeth has been taking the Going Green class, which ends May 27, she found out some more exciting news from the arts institute: She has been accepted as a student there for the fall semester.

"I definitely did learn a lot of skills here that I was able to bring into my portfolio," she said.


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