Class 4D of Cayman Prep has a big task on its hands.
Teacher Ms Donna has given them an assignment to find ways to help make the world a better place; to help change the world.
This has been a year-long project with students first coming up with plans and ideas of what they would like to do; then either alone or in groups devising a method of implementing that plan, designing or creating their project proposal and then selling it in the public forum.
Students have undertaken such projects as raising money for the Red Cross or cleaning up garbage from the side of the road.
Max Aquârt, eight, is working alone and has come up with the idea and the design of a poster that says, essentially, ‘Help make the world a better place, treat others the way you would like to be treated’.
Ms Donna has spurred the students to do as much of the project on their own, finding people to – in Max’s case – implement and print his poster and for all schools to display the poster.
‘I’ve only offered some guidance for Max,’ says his father, Shane. ‘I think that Ms Donna’s goal was that the children had a growing experience through the project.’
Max said he saw negative aspects at school that spurred his idea.
‘I’d seen some bullying in school and it’s not very nice and it’s not right and the world would be better if people were kinder to each other,’ Max said.
It’s an idea voiced by the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Buddhists, who said ‘Kindness is my religion.’ It’s also the Golden Rule; ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’
The idea to use a poster came as Max was trying to figure out the best way to get his message across.
‘I’d been first going to do cards, postcards, but then I decided to do a poster instead because you could put that up anywhere and lots of people could see it, read it.’
He drew the characters himself, naming them Josh and Jennifer.
Max has had some help along the way.
‘Shelley Leonard helped him implement his drawings into a digital format and I sat with him at the computer and let him choose his own colours and design elements to go with the characters. He did the entire dialog himself,’ his dad said. ‘Ms Donna suggested that he had to go to Quick Images and present his project, which he did himself, to Lucy Beighton, who agreed to print; to meet with Headmistresses from Catholic Mrs. O’Donnell, Red Bay Primary Mrs. Maclaughlin and First Baptist Dr. Cross as well as his own principle Mr. Wilson, who all agreed to put up his posters. This is a big deal for an eight-year-old and everybody was very supportive and took the time to meet with him one-on-one and treated him like a real person with something important to say. It was only my job to drive him and to introduce him and then to stand aside and watch him do his pitch. I’m very proud of Ms Donna’s foresight in imagining a project like this and of Max and how he’s handled himself during it all. It’s been beautiful to watch the progression,’ said Shane.