Through a partnership with the village, Irvington High School art students have repainted five of the 25 wooden soldiers to depict a more diverse community. Over the course of two days, they volunteered to complete the project and engaged in meaningful conversations about diversity, equity and inclusivity.
“It was a group effort in which no one worked on one piece,” art teacher Diana Schmertz said. “I believe one of the best ways to strengthen our community is to recognize when we are unintentionally not being inclusive and to rectify the situation.”
The project was spearheaded by Superintendent of Parks and Recreation Joseph Archino, who sought the district’s partnership after recognizing that the wooden soldiers – which are part of the annual village holiday display – didn’t depict diversity.
“We are proud of this partnership as it demonstrates how the district’s diversity, equity and inclusion work is permeating the broader community and engaging our students in the community,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kristopher Harrison said.
Schmertz said the project allowed the students to have meaningful conversations, grow from the experience and make a difference in their community.