Partnership keeps art alive at Fremont schools

May 31, 2010 5:47:38 PM PDT
California schools are tapping into parent power. With so many school districts struggling because of budget cuts, many are relying more than ever on help from parents and local businesses.

Tony Boudames of Fremont is not a teacher. He is a property developer who also helps students discover the art of ceramics.

"We have this beautiful place. I will be able to give back to the children one way or another by coming here and experiencing painting on ceramics," he told ABC7.

"My mug has a baseball picture. I am making it for my mom," student Anuragh Sundar said.

"She's like super mom, so I just put 'You rock' because she can handle things pretty much all day," Saybra Silveria said.

Like so many school districts, Fremont Unified has had to cut art and music programs. Boudames has been a civic leader in Fremont for years. When the local ceramic store was closing, he and his son thought of a way to help some of the local schools.

"My son said, 'We have so many memories in this place, I don't want to see it closing down,'" he recalled.

Three days later, Boudames bought the shop and called the school district to offer students free ceramic lessons. It was a chance for Boudames, born in Lebanon, to give back to his community, and for the second graders of Gomes Elementary to use their hands and minds.

"Well, I like that you can be really creative and you can do anything you want on it," student Ravi Pathak told ABC7.

School districts across California are realizing they can no longer afford these kinds of programs. So, they are relying more and more on local businesses for help.

"Business partnerships have kind of been out there, but I think it's reached a critical point that without that, I'm not sure what's going to happen," says Judith Cameron with the Fremont School District.

Students also learn about early chemistry and physics, the changes that occur when something is fired. The school district, which has received many thank you letters, says students do realize that people in the community like Tony Boudames care about them and their education.


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