Hillpoint student designs Husky shirt

Published 9:53 pm Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Lamont Allen is a talented artist, and he loves to draw mascots and logos. So when Hillpoint Elementary School was looking for a design for its anti-bullying Unity Day T-shirt this year, they knew they could count on him.

Lamont, an 11-year-old fifth-grader at Hillpoint, designed a shirt with an original drawing of a husky, the school’s mascot. He added paw prints and the school’s name, as well as “No Bullying” and a reference to the school’s three B’s: Be Responsible, Be Respectful and Be Safe.

On Unity Day, Oct. 23, Lamont got to see his drawing on his own T-shirt, as well as the T-shirts worn by faculty, staff and many other students.

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“Ms. Woodley told me to draw a shirt, and I started drawing,” Lamont said, referencing one of the school’s faculty, Cynthia Woodley. “It’s on a shirt now.”

Lamont and his twin brother, Lamar, have autism, which to their mother is a beautiful part of their many gifts.

“All the challenges he’s faced, he didn’t let it stop him,” Tara Allen said of Lamont. “He is actually very smart. He’s not different from any other kid; he just learns different. It makes him ‘him.’”

Allen said she discovered Lamont’s talent for art about a year or two ago. He enjoys drawing college mascots and logos and has many of them memorized. He also loves cartoon characters and especially enjoys drawing Sonic the Hedgehog, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Dragon Ball Z.

“I noticed he wasn’t tracing; it was by memory,” his mother said. “He would look at it and remember how it was, and he would begin to draw it.”

Allen said she is proud of her son’s accomplishments and especially about the T-shirt design.

“It gives him courage to keep drawing and keep having an interest in it,” she said. “It’s grown to be something that he loves. I believe in the future it’s something he could excel in. I’m expecting great things.”

Allen added that she thinks the design for an anti-bullying recognition day has special meaning. Lamont has not faced a bullying issue in the past, she said, but she is aware that possibility exists for all children, especially those who have autism, like Lamont and Lamar.

“It means a lot, coming from someone who faces challenges and the possibility of being bullied,” she said. “It says a lot.”

Hillpoint principal Catherine Pichon said she hopes the T-shirt is a start of a new tradition.

“He’s the first person to create our Unity Day shirt,” she said. “It’s kind of like a new tradition we’re starting this year.”

Also on Unity Day, the students formed a giant circle outside and had an aerial photograph taken. Throughout October, which is National Bullying Prevention Month, Hillpoint students wore bracelets and had other bullying prevention activities, Pichon said.

“We’re really proud of our students,” Pichon said. “We’re trying to make a big deal about those students that show acts of kindness and focus on the positive things they’re doing.”