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More connected than ever

Even in a world that is more connected than ever before, it’s easy to become insular and become too wrapped up in our own little world — pandemic or no pandemic.

Before the current pandemic hit America, some art students at Nansemond River High School participated in a project to draw portraits of students in Malaysia. Working off of photographs, the Art 4 students taught by Brian Kershasky created the portraits and sent them off to the other side of the globe a couple of months ago.

The project is part of The Memory Project, a group that promotes intercultural awareness, friendship and kindness around the world using art as a universal language.

The portraits arrived in Malaysia about two weeks ago, and Kershasky and his students got a welcome boost in the middle of worrisome times — they got to see a video of the students receiving their portraits.

Kershasky said it brought everything full circle for him and his students, who he said were “super pumped” to see the reaction from their Malaysian counterparts.

Kershasky said he definitely has plans to do the project again in the future.

“That was a super-duper rewarding experience,” he said. “And now that we’ve done it once, we can explain to them everything that’s going to happen, how cool it is, and now we have something that’s very personal, rather than just kind of generic things on the website. That will get the kids excited about it.

“That was one of our first projects that reached beyond the classroom, beyond the local community and then into the world,” Kershasky said. “And that in itself makes it worth doing it again.”

We applaud Kershasky and his students who worked on this project. It’s great things like this that make us all feel a little more connected when distance keeps us apart.