Alabaster students fight polio with art

January 18, 2013 by  

Under the direction of art teacher Claire Caldwell, 23 Thompson Middle School (TMS) students utilized their artistic talents in an effort to inform the community about the ongoing fight against polio.

TMS partnered with Rotary International, which has strived to eliminate the threat of polio globally for decades, circulates literature regarding the battle against the malady, as well as comic books designed for middle-school students.

After Claire Caldwell perused the comics, she assigned a comic piece and caption to each of her students. Then, the children let their imaginations run free as they each created their own unique objet d’art.

Upon completion, the children’s artwork recounted the history of the often fatal disease of polio, the heroic efforts of Jonas Salk, Thomas Francis, and Albert Sabin as they worked relentlessly to develop a vaccine to combat the disease, and towards its ultimate annihilation in North America.

The 1952 polio epidemic in the United States came to be the vilest pandemic in the country’s history. Almost 59,000 occurrences had been reported that year. The death toll rose to 3,145 while over 21,000 victims were left with varying degrees of paralysis. Although polio is no longer a threat in the Americas, it continues to be a serious problem in some developing countries.

The students’ illustrations, affixed them to foam backings, were exhibited at the Rotary Club’s Southern Bazaar at the Pelham Civic Complex.

Afterwards, the artwork was on display at local businesses and printing services. The Alabaster-Pelham Rotary Club is currently preparing to transport the illustrations to Rotary International.