Annemarie Baldauf is feeling a bit down.
For the first time in 22 years, Riverview Middle is cutting some of its art classes, she said. The passionate art teacher said she feels awful that the Bay Point school will be four classes short this coming year. "I just have to fight for this."
It may not seem like a lot, but for more than two decades, Baldauf said that's what made her school "three-dimensional, unique ... that it supported the arts while having the strongest growth in test scores."
Last year, the teacher led nearly 150 students in a mosaic project that brightened up the multipurpose room and the school's front entry sign. And recently, a load of the kids took home ribbons from the county fair.
"Cutting art is cutting some student's lifeline in education," she said. "It's not OK." One of the four classes being cut is sixth-grade intro to art.
"There hasn't been a sixth-grader that doesn't love the time spent in the art room," she said. "It's for the student that doesn't speak English, the student that fails every other class, the student that drives his other teachers batty. ... They will grow, be productive, learn, think. How can this be in anyone's interest to take this away from them?"
She said this particular class can be a "bridge to academic classes." She knows art is vital, recounting the tale of a student once considered a special learner.
"She made these amazing, most original drawings
"Art helps (the students) breathe."
SHOPPING HELPERS NEEDED: The Soroptimists of Pittsburg's annual giveaway event is fast approaching.
The local group and Pittsburg's Target host the back-to-school shopping morning for about 100 students in need.
In its 19th year, the event is set for Aug. 4.
Soroptimist and event organizer Doris Bedford said students get a chance to pick out shoes, uniforms and other clothing. Volunteers from businesses and the community help.
The Soroptimists also hand out backpacks full of school supplies and a book and breakfast that day.
Held in the early morning before the Century Plaza store opens, volunteers are needed.
If interested, email Bedford at email@example.com.
LET'S GO: East County Boys & Girls Club of Pittsburg will be the recipient of the local Staples for Students national school supply drive.
DoSomething. Org and Staples have teamed up for the fifth annual event. To help kids in need, the drive encourages folks to collect supplies through Sept. 15. All donations benefit the local club to "ensure they get into the hands of disadvantaged youth just in time for the new school year," according to the news release.
The area Staples' drop off is at 4863 Lone Tree Way in Antioch.
To kick-start the campaign, the chain is donating $125,000 worth of school supplies to the program. Staples customers can help by donating cash at any Staples store. Since 2008, the campaign has raised more than $2 million. For more info and how to help, visit www.staplesforstudents.org.
HAPPY NEW YEAR: While many area students remain on summer break, our far East County friends will head back to school next week. Here's wishing all a great and successful school year. And, be sure to share your lovely projects, fundraisers and big accomplishments with me. Cheers!