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Students go on ‘Incredible Journey’ through computer art

By Staff | Apr 21, 2011

Tom Bakey and Principal Susan Hendricks watch seven-year-old Ben work on a project in the CAD Artist Classroom. Photo by Louise Rockett.

LAHAINA — “There are no lines between the colors of the rainbows” in Tom Bakey’s CAD Artist Classroom at Sacred Hearts School.

CAD is an acronym for Computer-aided Design.

Bakey, a theoretical physicist by trade from Silicon Valley, is a volunteer teacher at the historic Catholic school in Lahaina for part of the year. The slogan of his class is “The Incredible Journey.”

The quote from one of the students enrolled in the after school program applies to the spiraling curriculum in Bakey’s classroom in more ways than graphic.

It’s an extracurricular offering to kids at the school in all grade levels; the only requirement is enthusiasm and lots of imagination.

“The students are motivated. They want to be here, and they want to learn. They love to journey. Even after a full day (of school), they’re coming in here, sitting down, ready to go,” Sacred Hearts Principal Susan L. Hendricks attested.

Students create and design an original piece of art one element at a time.

The Lahaina News was introduced to the adventurers one recent afternoon, while winging their way “mythically” to Sacred Hearts Mission, a boy’s school in Uganda, Africa.

The element of the “big picture” for the week was a jet plane.

The CAD travelers ages seven to 12 introduced themselves with confidence, with their computer generated art displayed on their Apple screens with pride.

It was inspiring.

There was Ben (7), Keana (8), James (12), LoIeini (9), Elena (8), Shayla (8), Jake (9), Makana (8) and Crystel (8). Alexis, the winner of the CAD picture of the week, was on Oahu with her father.

“We are CAD artists. That means we draw things on the computer. We are trying to draw an airplane right now to visit our friends in Africa. It’s a mythical flight. We will give them gifts, and they will give us gifts. We’re sending, truthfully, paper, pens and pencils and macadamia nuts,” Makana said.

Makana outlined how the big picture comes together.

“We learn the basics, and the basics are a horizon line and an island with a foreground and a background. This is the rainbow and some of the palms.”

Bakey explained how the puzzle fits together: “As they learn each of the things to do, then they can add it to their picture to try to get the completed picture.”

“We talk about their learning experience as a journey. Every year, it’s a journey, and this happens to be The Incredible Journey,’ “ Principal Hendricks noted.

It’s not just about art.

For over a year, the students have been pen-paling with their counterparts across the globe.

“There is a wealth of knowledge here; they are always going on a trip to learn about something. Last year we had Taka (in the classroom); he is from Japan. He came in and explained how a sailboat works, how it goes together. He is back in Japan, (we’re) sending stuff over there, and he’s showing it to his classmates over there,” Bakey explained.

“It’s a nonstop trip,” he added.

Next stop is Tonga.

As one student reasoned, “If we go to Africa , why can’t we go to Tonga? My grandmother lives there.”

The lessons are multiple.

“There is an underlying theme in working with and talking about these multiple cultures. We’re learning some tolerance for diversity. They’re learning about some of the foundations of the Catholic faith,” Hendricks remarked.

The kids are also learning about giving.

One of them said — and all agreed — in no uncertain terms, “I like that we get to go to Uganda and give them art supplies that they don’t have.”