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2015 April 19 - 11:49 am

Around Campus

A look at activities at various colleges campuses

Easels in front of them, a classroom of Northampton Community College (Pa.) students mixed paints, put color to canvas, and talked with Professor Bruce Wall as he circulated among them. Mikayla Resh and her nurse, Carolyn Martin, worked alongside the young men and women, finishing a sweeping landscape of sun, sky and hills. Hand over hand, Martin guides Resh, as she moves the paint brush over the canvas. A piece of foam with a hole in the middle, makes the brush easier for Resh to grasp. Resh also sometimes places her hands directly into the acrylic paint as in finger painting. Various textures created by gel-like and sand-like additives add to Mikayla’s tactile experience. Doing activities with her peers has been Resh’s parents’ goal since their daughter was born 20 years ago with severe permanent brain damage, resulting in cerebral palsy, spastic quadriplegia, profound intellectual disabilities and legal blindness. Mikayla neither walks, talks, nor eats without a feeding tube. Yet, she is able, with assistance, to engage in art beside people her age. Members of the painting class are receptive, helpful, and interested in Resh and her painting, Martin says. Inspired by Mikayla, Kimberly founded Mikayla’s Voice, an organization with the conviction that “diversity builds understanding, compassion and acceptance, making us all better human beings.” The non-profit organization participates in numerous community events. Mother and daughter travel all over Pennsylvania, introducing children and their teachers to the idea of including people with disabilities in all areas of life. Mikayla is much appreciated by her family, including her sister, Lauren, who says, “Mikayla inspires me to live life to the fullest.” Kimberly says, “While she has never spoken, Mikalya’s voice is now heard.”

The Santa Rosa Junior College (Calif.) Theatre Arts Department is returning to the stage to present the modern classic dance musical “Footloose” for its final show of the spring 2015 season. SRJC’s Footloose is a stage adaptation of the original screenplay by Dean Pitchford with music by Tom Snow, and will take place in Burbank Auditorium, located at SRJC’s Santa Rosa campus. Footloose is a toe-tapping, high-octane trip back to the 1980s. Big-city teenager Ren McCormick moves to a small Midwest town where rock music, parties, and dancing have all been banned. Backed by a dynamic musical score mixing contemporary hit songs with chart-topping classics like “Let’s Hear It for the Boy” and “Almost Paradise,” Ren must win over the town—and the audience—and teach everyone to “cut foot-loose.”

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