Empty bowls convey 'Be Kind' message

Shawn Hardy news@echo-pilot.com
From left, Rebekah Brown, Danielle Tyler, Autumn Dean and Emma DeCarli are among the Greencastle-Antrim High School art students creating bowls for the Peer Leaders' GA Empty Bowls 2020 — 'a handcrafted soup dinner to fight hunger' — on March 6. SHAWN HARDY/ECHO PILOT

Greencastle-Antrim High School Peer Leaders will serve up their message "Be Kind" and help a community food bank during GA Empty Bowls 2020 on Friday, March 6.

Described as "a handcrafted soup dinner to fight hunger," GA Empty Bowls is supported not only by the Peer Leaders, but also the 3-D Design and Ceramics Class and community donors.

It will be held in The Life Center, 35 N. Carlisle St., Greencastle. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. and the dinner and silent auction are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

A representative of the Greencastle-Antrim Food Pantry at Greencastle Presbyterian Church will be on hand to talk about local need and Peer Leaders will also give a brief presentation on "Be Kind."

Proceeds from the evening benefit the food pantry, Peer Leaders and the art foundation at the high school to replenish the clay supply.

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 Peer Leaders 

The Peer Leaders are about 30 10th- through 12th-graders chosen through an application and selection process who undergo leadership training and plan activities throughout the year.

The group promotes health — physical, social and academic — so you are "striving to be the best you can in all areas," according to Madi Kirkwood, an 11th-grader, who is organizing GA Empty Bowls with 12th-grader Rebekah Duvall and 10th-graders Cale Stover and Gavin Davidson.

Peer Leaders are broken down into expert groups and the quartet selected "Be Kind" for their message.

"We're doing good things to show our peers the right thing to do," Cale explained.

They offer lunchtime activities, a social media page, fliers and observances like Red Ribbon Week and Wellness Week, Gavin said.

They are providing a message counter to a culture of negativity, according to Jen Everetts, who is the group's adviser along with her fellow guidance counselor Dan Barrett.

"We're giving people resources and opportunities to be kind," Madi added.

Empty Bowls 

Empty Bowls grew out of Peer Leaders training in January that featured the local food pantry and South Central Community Action Programs.

"It was eye-opening the number of school students who are food deprived," Gavin said.

"If basic needs aren't being met, it is hard for students to focus and reach their potential in school," Everetts said.

"You don't think of people being low income and food deprived in Greencastle," Madi said. She said the dinner is a way to provide support "without calling them out or embarrassing them. And it's a great way to bring the community together."

Each person attending the fundraiser will receive a bowl made in the 3-D Design and Ceramics Class, which can be filled with soup — provided by B Street 104, Pure and Simple Cafe, Fireside Pub and Kyle Florentine, a chef and G-AHS graduate — to be enjoyed with bread. Bowls can them be used again for ice cream from Mikie's and cookies from Mama K's Buns.

Diners get to keep their bowls as a reminder of their generosity.

"It will have a cool vibe," Everetts said.

Other supporters include Undone; The Nook; Koons Insurance and Financial Services; REMAX Premier Executives, Alan Shanholtz, Realtor; Grayce Gardens; Graphics Universal; Kline's Grocery; Martin's; Panera Bread; Sunnyway; and M&T Bank.

The Peer Leaders hope to make this an annual event.

 Behind the wheel 

GA Empty Bowls has come together quickly and students in Alex Miller's art room hard at work on the potter's wheels.

The 19 students just started learning the wheel three weeks ago and Miller said, "It is one thing everyone starts out bad at."

By the second week, they started "making keepers." Their goal is 100 bowls, and so far 80 to 90 are ready for the fundraiser.

"Once you get past the frustration it's fun," said Emma DeCarli as she worked on the wheel.

"It's satisfying when you make something you like," added Rebekah Brown.

The process involves throwing (or creating) the bowl on a potter's wheel, trimming it, firing it, glazing it and firing it again.

The bowls are food, dishwasher and microwave safe. Most feature a maker's mark or the initials of the student who made the bowl. Some are anonymous because they are collaborative pieces.

Most of the glazes were developed in the G-AHS STEAM glaze lab that started a few years ago.

Miller pointed to a color called Minty Fresh and explained, "We developed that color ourselves, it exists nowhere else in the world."