Students make dolls for celebrations

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Students at Sallie B. Howard School for the Arts and Education made a series of unique African dolls to decorate the school for the 102nd birthday of Sallie B. Howard this week and the 20th anniversary of the Wilson charter school’s founding.

Adai Santamaria, arts and crafts teacher at the school, organized the African dolls project.

The newly refurbished cafeteria was decorated with the dolls for the birthday and anniversary event. They will also be on display at an art gala to be held April 19.

The dolls, made out of recycled newspaper, were started in February for Black History Month.

“It’s called newspaper weaving,” Santamaria said. “The school buys the newspaper, so we just recycle.”

It takes about a week for students to make a doll because they are in the arts and crafts class for about an hour and 20 minutes a day.

Narrow strips of newspaper pages are rolled around a wooden cooking skewer to form a tube.

A central wooden post is placed in the middle to hold the whole structure together. The newspaper tubes are positioned in place with the use of a hot glue gun.

Of the 22 students who made the dolls, some made more than one.

Santamaria said she was looking for a project to do with newspaper and saw the idea on the internet.

Each doll was covered with acrylic paint in colors that might be found in South Africa.

“I think that it is good to do,” said student Stephanie Baza, an eighth-grader.

“It represents Africa because of the baskets and the clothes that they are wearing.”

Student Jessica Villanueva said she appreciated the project because it was using recycled newspaper.

“What I like most about the project is when we make the newspaper tubes, it makes a strong form into a good design and when we paint it, it stands out,” said student Tatiana Wilson, a sixth-grader.

Santamaria said the students put a lot of effort to make the dolls look pretty.

“Everybody was able to make one,” Santamaria said. “They were interested in the project.”

Santamaria said the dolls were one of several projects that have recently been done using recycled products.

Other products included hearts for Valentine’s Day and decorative souvenir pens to give away to school visitors.