Students create 550 pinwheels for cancer awareness

April 23, 2012 at 6:02 p.m.
Updated April 23, 2012 at 11:24 p.m.

Students at Roland Elementary School constructed pinwheels for cancer awareness day.

Students at Roland Elementary School constructed pinwheels for cancer awareness day.   Frank Tilley for The Victoria Advocate

The wind whipped the hair off her shoulders, and Kagan Migl's baby blue eyes squinted toward the sunlight beaming off about 550 pinwheels.

Her grandfather was surely smiling, she said.

"It kind of looks like the clouds - like he's standing and walking on them," Kagan said.

She was outside of Rowland Elementary School on Monday morning, where the pinwheels decorated by each student served as a bright and lively tribute to those afflicted with cancer.

Nearly every student had a story - an aunt, a grandfather, a friend's mother - who battles, beat, or lost to cancer, said the school's art teacher, Sabre Sparkman. The pinwheels serve as a chance to honor them, and the process of creating them gave students a chance to open up about how cancer has affected their lives.

"I can't look at it without wanting to cry," Sparkman said, as kids made their way to the front of the school to stick their pinwheels in the ground. "Everybody has a story behind them, and they put so much love into it."

With only 11 years under her belt, cancer is a part of Kagan's story. Her grandmother died when she was a baby, Kagan said, after cancer attacked her bones. And on Good Friday this year, her grandpa died of cancer.

"I remember really fun times with him," she said. "I just love him."

Holding the pinwheel she decorated with "Grandma Angel" and "Dousi," which is what she called her grandfather, Kagan recalled feeding fish and riding horses with her grandpa.

"He had this favorite kind of gum called Doublemint, and that's what he would always give us," she said. I'll miss "all the fun times we had, and his big smile, and the smell of his gum always."

Other pinwheels were personalized with names of loved ones or Bible verses. One said "cancer sucks," and another featured a letter to a mother. An oversized pinwheel is dedicated to a custodian at Rowland Elementary, who was recently diagnosed with cancer.

"This is just exactly what I pictured," Sparkman said, after Principal James Taylor had placed the last of the artwork.

The sun beamed from a cloudless sky, and gusts of wind brought to life the city of pinwheels.

Kagan's face molded into a peaceful smile when she thought about her grandfather.

"He'd think they're pretty great," she said.



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