These students painted their parking spots, and the results are a win for arts education.
True
Horizon Organic

A few weeks ago, Martha Caldera tweeted a photo of her parking spot at West Orange High School that went insanely viral because, well ... just look at it.

‌The only thing that's going to motivate me to wake up for school tomorrow is pulling up in my parking spot 🙏🏽😎 pic.twitter.com/O88chiYyag— Martha Caldera (@ayeitsmarthaaa) August 21, 2016

Martha loves the rapper Drake and is also often late to school, so she decided to paint a clever take on his album titled "If You’re Reading This It's Too Late." Obviously, lots of people empathized with her message, with more than 24,000 Twitter users retweeting the photo.


"I'm happy my high school lets seniors do this, it's awesome!" Martha said.

Meanwhile, Mark Hamilton and his son decided to paint a spot dedicated to "Napoleon Dynamite" — a favorite movie of theirs.

‌Had a great time painting my son's school parking spot with him today. Laughs were shared and memories were made. pic.twitter.com/nFPUUNPwV4— Mark E Hamilton (@MarkEHamlton) August 15, 2016

"My son was elected Senior Class President. This was during his campaign. 'Vote for Pedro' came up often in discussion. It fit," wrote Mark.

Since the students and parents seem to love this creative outlet, West Orange High School has turned painting parking spots into a yearly tradition.

Here's a shot of all the spots from a drone that one student's father (who also happens to be a professional photographer) took in August:

‌Taken one day after all the art was completed. Photo by TK Photography.‌

His daughter Sarah's spot was inspired by her favorite Disney movie, "Tangled":

‌Sarah sitting on her parking spot. Photo by TK Photography. ‌

Most of the seniors who painted their spots drew inspiration from something personally meaningful to them. Whether it's a song, a movie, or a famous quote, they thought out of the box to bring each idea to painted fruition.

And West Orange isn't the only school doing this. Several high schools in Texas have also adopted the painting practice.

‌🌸 senior parking spot 017' 🌸 pic.twitter.com/o9Iln6gZMQ— ✿ mia rose ✿ (@_miarose1098_) August 15, 2016‌‌so it begins @EliseHutson senior parking spot. Tomorrow I will have a college & high school sr and a high school jr😢 pic.twitter.com/keRex0EsqY— Heather Hutson (@HeatherMHutson) August 21, 2016‌‌Did something I never do & decided my parking spot didn't have to be perfect- it's a mess but I like it 💛 #senior pic.twitter.com/loEq0MZM8y— Faith Hart (@mynameisnotface) August 22, 2016‌‌This is how my niece painted her senior year parking spot. #FridayNightLights pic.twitter.com/eK5xYvNpld— David Hudgins (@DavidHudgins3) August 15, 2016

It's incredibly refreshing to see schools embracing artistic expression this way, especially considering how many art programs have been cut since the 2008 recession.

According to U.S. News & World Report, funding has been cut from more than 80% of schools in the United States in the last eight years, and the first things to go are almost always art programs.

This is a real shame because studies have shown that students who are exposed to art education are actually more proficient in reading, writing, and math.

Not only are art courses vital to students' development, they can be instrumental in building skills needed for those coveted, high-paying jobs.

Drew Faust, president of Harvard University, put it succinctly: "The ability to innovate—a skill that nine of out ten employers agree is the most important for new hires—requires thinking beyond immediate needs and making creative leaps. Where better to model this approach than in the arts and humanities?"

Even though it may seem like a simple project, allowing students to express themselves through painting their parking spaces sends an important message to the rest of the education community: Art has an impact on our present and our future.

‌Photo by TK Photography. ‌

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less

The recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg not only marked the end of an illustrious life of service to law and country, but the beginning of an unprecedented judicial nomination process. While Ginsburg's spot on the Supreme Court sits open, politicians and regular Americans alike argue over whether or not it should be filled immediately, basing their arguments on past practices and partisan points.

When a Supreme Court vacancy came up in February of 2016, nine months before the election, Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell refused to even take up a hearing to consider President Obama's pick for the seat, arguing that it was an election year and the people should have a say in who that seat goes to.

Four years later, a mere six weeks before the election, that reasoning has gone out the window as Senate Republicans race to get a nominee pushed through the approval process prior to election day. Now, they claim, because the Senate majority and President are of the same party, it makes sense to proceed with the nomination.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Going against most standard business advice, Bill Penzey has never hesitated to make his beliefs known to the people who buy his products. The outspoken CEO of Penzey's Spices, America's largest independent spice retailer, made headlines when he directly called out President Trump's racism after his election, and this February he published a public statement decrying the "corruption and cruelty" he says have taken over the Republican party.

Penzey, whose business headquarters reside just outside of Milwaukee, has been openly supportive of the protests against racial injustice taking place all over the nation. But after protests in Kenosha became riotous, someone wrote him a letter suggesting that if it were his store being looted, he'd be singing a different tune.

Bill Penzey pondered this idea. Then he sent out a letter to subscribers and explained that no, he actually wouldn't.

The letter reads:

Keep Reading Show less

"Very nice!" It appears as though Kazakhstan's number one reporter, Borat Sagdiyev, is set to return to the big screen in the near future and the film's title is a sight to behold.

Reports show that the title submitted to the Writer's Guild of America, "Borat: Gift Of Pornographic Monkey To Vice Premiere Mikhael Pence To Make Benefit Recently Diminished Nation Of Kazakhstan" is even longer than the first film's, "Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan."

As the title suggests, the film is expected to feature an encounter with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as well as President Trump's TV lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Keep Reading Show less