The Character Council of Western New York (CCWNY) in collaboration with the State University of New York College at Buffalo’s 150th year Celebration, proudly presents the “Diversity Rooted in Character” collaborative art project.
This collaborative Artwork was developed from the Annual Champions for CHANGE Youth Leadership Conference, run annually by the Character Council of WNY. Desiree Weppner, the Conference Director, and Vice President of the CCWNY Board of Directors led this initiative that brought WNY middle and high school students together to learn leadership skills, positive character virtue development, and diversity education. Presenting at the conference along with Desiree was Rene Petties-Jones, President of the National Federation for Just Communities of WNY, and Tanya Staples, Senior Director Community Schools for Say Yes Buffalo. Each year this conference is offered free to any WNY middle and high schools that want to attend.
Each school that attended the conference had students participate in the creation of this collaborative artwork that reflects the theme of rooting our words, actions, and choices in positive character to help guide us to be our best selves. Positive character creates respect, leading to needed communication and understanding. This project highlights the uniqueness of how we see the world around us, bringing together a combination of talents and ideas, and allowing these diverse, beautiful differences to create one vision and accomplish one goal.
The 400 tiles that make up this artwork symbolize that each of us plays a part of something bigger than ourselves. Doing one small part might not seem like much yet working together towards a greater cause will create change and success.
Students and school faculty that participated in making this artwork are: Kari Piazza and Harar Saeed from Charter High School For Applied Technologies with students Nyashia Abernathy, Shawntrice Brown Alexander Nathaniel Montalvo, Mehdia Natiq, Keuryeliz Patchett and Jay'Leere Rodriquez; Joanne Lombardo and Dawn Yeates from Edward Town Middle School, with students Eli Berak, Flora Helton, Mark Piwowarczyk, Olivia Ribbeck and Brooklyn Russell; Deb McGowen from the Ellicottville School District, with Dalayla Alexander, Brianna Aronson, Elizabeth Ball, Kathryn Bless, Oakley Bradley, Michael Cleary, Edward Doherty, Owen Doherty, Benjamin Edwards, Sara Epps, Jack Flagg, Tea Fuller, Kade Hilliman, Maddox Johnson, Natalee Leiper, Ryan Norton, Owen Pierce, Christopher Polino, Parker Quinn, Ryah Quinn, Alexis Redeye, Hailey Rzucek, Christian Swalcy, Violet Tussel and Ava Woodarek from Ellicottville High School and Coleman Carls, Malie Curtis, Timothy DeChane III, Christopher Edwards, Kaiser Joesel, Jailah John, Tosh Klein, Jaxson LaCroix, Eva LoGiudice, Jonah Mann, Eliza Murray, Jadyn Nevins, Juliana O'Connell, Nora Santiago, Yanieliz Velazquez-Garcia, Benjamin Wedvik, Riley Whitmer and Isabella Wilder from Ellicottville Middle School; Ellen Gullo from Frontier High School, with students Conor Clancy, Madison Cook, Jay Koglmeier, Sara Pepper and Autumn Reeder; Thomas Zafuto from Geraldine J. Mann Elementary School, with students Dominic Condino, Aiyana Craft, Kyle Dean, Palmer Goodberry, Leanna Johnston, Grace Nichols, Luke Richards and Kiera Weatherston; Jillian Crossetta, Kelly Mulvey and Sean Vittum from Hamburg Middle School, with students Katherine Blackwell, Kayla Fitzgerald, Emma Holst, Brady Mazurkiewicz, Logan O'Connell, Brooks Runfola and Kira Szydlowski; Michelle Cyrek from Hamburg High School, with students Lily Cooke, Maze Drum, Josef Dunlap, Sam Engel, Emma Fiebelkorn, Gabrielle Gause, Carly Glashauser, Emma Grabowski, Lauren Holstein, Leah Jarzynski, Lauralei Krencik, Maddie Kroll, Alexis Lowry, Kate Mikida, Oscar Nestorowicz, Gardner Ostalos, Torri Scholl and Carter Sireika; Jo Ann Wiatrowski from Mount St. Mary Academy, with students Bailey Blanchard, Lily Cooke, Ella DeRose, Haley Griffin, Reagan MacKinnon, Abby Marion, Alexa Persico, Amanda Saber and Maggie Struckmann; Jill Gradwell and Susan Geerkin fom Nativity Of Our Lord /Orchard Park, with students James Anticola, Patrick Basil, Nicholas Ciancio, Patrick Cosgrove, Eva DeFazio, Matthew Enright, Delaney Gradwell, Ryan Grant, John Griffin, Isabella Gugino, Hannah Makin, Logan Radloff, Lillian Redinger, Alivia Rydzewski, Lauren Szpylman and Isabella Taggert; Marla Gluck from Orleans Niagara BOCES Niagara Academy with students Benjamin Gluck and Zack Gluck from Williamsville North High School; Shawna Smith from Perry High School, with students Logan Church, Brooke Kwiecien, Joey Lapiana, Allie Faryna, Kiana Patterson, Josh Smith, Emma True, Eddie Wolcott and Adrian Yang; Stephen Sayoc from Randolph Academy; Tina Bialkowski from Tonawanda High School, with students Seenaa Aljibouri, Aurora Brush, Tavery Cater, Cailee Cinquino, Supearl Cortez, Bryn Dewey, Graci Fogarty, Ava Grosskopf, Olivia Markarian, Emilee McGuinness, Autumn Miller, Li Xin Pan, Lillian Russell and Everett Tucker; Florence Dollard from Western New York Maritime Charter School, with students Ariel Abraszek, Kylei Allman, Angelitz Caldero, Joselyn Class, Jose Class, Carlos Collazo, Kate Embler, Mark Fuentes, Carlos Hogue, Na'cere Johnson, Dolly Josker, Joseph Kwiecinski, Gabriel Martinez, Jayden Mason, Damon McGrier, Izzy Murno, Mateus Murna, Zaniyah Riley, Angel Rodriquez, Joel Rodriquez, Reynaldo Rodriguez, Mekhi Scott and Myaniel Stovall; and student Drew Weppner form Williamsville East High School;