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Katy ISD unveils 2017 KEYS ‘The Next Chapter’ artwork

April 18, 2017 GMT

“The Next Chapter” is the title of an mixed-media painting selected to commemorate the 2017 Katy Independent School District KEYS - Keep Encouraging Youth toward Success - Mentor Program.

Eight Cinco Ranch High artists created the 30-inch by 44-inch artwork unveiled at the recent Ties and Tiaras benefit. The original work will hang at the high school and each of KEYS major sponsors has received a print.

“These students put so much thought into this painting. It tells a story in strikingly beautiful words and imagery that truly expresses KEYS ideals,” said Janet Burkett, Firethorne director of marketing and a 10-year KEYS mentor. “This is a collaborative art project that really touches one’s heart.”

Mentoring is offered to district students in grades K-12 who are on the brink of success, said Janet Theis, director of community partnerships, KISD Partners in Education. Mentors meet with their students on campus each week for up to one hour during the school day throughout the school year.

“We promise these students that if they stay in the program through their senior year, they will be eligible to apply for a KEYS Scholarship,” said Theis.

The Cinco Ranch High art students brainstormed ideas on how to illustrate such KEYS values as being passionate and empathetic toward those in need.

“We have to realize what stuff other people are going through on a daily basis and how being able to help someone is really gratifying,” said Cinco Ranch art student Kelly Salinas. Her fellow artists are: Meghan Hunt, Arfa Khan, Rachel Lore, Libby Perego, Josephine Schider, Alice Yang and Angela Young. Their art teacher is Cindy Reilly.

The team of artists ultimately agreed upon a theme of a storybook opening up to “The Next Chapter” page on the left that described the visual image on the facing page. Hand-scripted in Old English text, the students’ original prose brings to light the mentor’s eloquent words of wisdom. The next page draws the viewer’s eyes toward a lone figure walking down a wooded path. She’s the mentor approaching the student, encouraging her to come forward and “turn the page.”

The Next Chapter message is: “Life can be full of treachery. You will have ups and downs. You will experience both happiness and sadness. But what matters is what you make of it, and who you choose to include in your life. In me, you have a supporter, in me you have a friend, and in me, you have unconditional acceptance. I know new beginnings are scary, but do you want to see what your story holds? Will you close the book and go back? Or will you enter a new beginning with me, and turn the page?”

“When we began our KEYS Scholarship fundraising campaign 10 years ago, Firethorne was our first platinum sponsor, proving that it’s not just a great neighborhood, it’s also a great neighbor,” said Theis. “Whether sponsoring golf tournaments, supporting our Food for Families, or helping out Katy ISD Future Farmers of America with the Firethorne Stampede auction team, Firethorne knows how to make things better for kids.”

KEYS is a program of Partners in Education, the department that brings the community into the classroom. For more information about KEYS, visit the KEYS web page at www.katyisd.org, or contact Martha Brown at 281-396-2468.