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blown away swlcaThe elementary art teacher at Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy, Elizabeth O’Neill, was doing some research online to find a new and interesting art project to do with her kindergarten through third grade students. She came upon the beautiful blown glass artwork of Dale Chihuly. Chihuly has many of his art pieces dis-played around the world. One of his pieces is even in our town of Lake Charles, Louisiana, at the Golden Nug-get Casino. In her research, Mrs. O’Neill found out that if the piece does not come out as he intended then he often threw it away. She wrote a letter asking if she could have a piece that was to be thrown away to be displayed at our school as inspiration for our little artists and sent pictures of the chandeliers the students made as a replica of his work. Unfortunately, she learned those rejected pieces are often auctioned off at charity auctions, and they would not send her one. However, she did receive quite a surprise in the mail from Chihuly’s donation coordinator in Seattle, Washington. They sent 320 sketch books so each of her students could have one and 15 copies of his book Chihuly Bellagio that displays pictures of how he creates his work and many of his famous pieces. A personalized note was also included praising our students for their wonderful artwork and encouraging them to continue making art. Some classes, like Ms. House’s kindergarten class, are al-ready hard at work in their sketchbooks. One of them may become a famous artist one day! Great job to Mrs. O’Neill for going above and beyond in her teaching and Making a Difference in the students’ lives at Southwest Louisiana Charter Academy.