Capstone Group Cultivates Awareness

Have you heard of National Pro-Life Chalk Day? If you’ve walked through the halls of Chaminade Julienne this month, there’s a good chance you recently learned about this event thanks to the work of one Senior Capstone group.

February 6 is considered National Pro-Life Chalk Day. Organizers encourage advocates to inform others by using sidewalk chalk to artistically share messages and facts in high-traffic areas. Wanting to pursue their moral beliefs, take action and raise awareness, seniors Keiley Ayers, Kaitlin Blanchard, Kelsey Dufresne and Kate Schultz decided to put their own twist on the activity.

“The idea to celebrate National Pro-Life Chalk Day at CJ came up as we researched pro-life events for our Senior Capstone Project. We thought about painting the windows of the front entrance because of the snow on the sidewalks and because we knew lots of people would see it there,” Schultz said.

With permission and support from school administration, the group spent about three and a half hours crafting their own “Pro-Life Paint Day” display. The girls painted rows of red hearts with brushes and dipped the sides of their hands in blue and pink paint to make hundreds of pairs of baby’s footprints. The life-like artwork was intended to drive home their message -- "3,500 hearts a day are stopped by abortion” -- which was spelled out, dead center, in large print.

“I know that students noticed because a lot of them came up and told us that they had no idea that that many lives are ended due to abortion,” Schultz said. To help explain, the group also put together a special informative presentation and asked all religion teachers who were willing to show it to their classes (download and watch the PPT presentation).

"All my students really received the message well, but there were some kids, one freshman in particular, who told me their perspective on abortion changed," said Lisa Colbert, religion teacher. She decided to show all five of her senior and freshman religion classes the Capstone presentation because she came away impressed by the group's work and wanted to give other seniors pursuing projects a good example of what could be accomplished.

"The girls presented viewpoints that my freshman students had never heard from their peers before. It got people thinking and it got people talking," she said.

The presentation and window paintings are not the only way the group has been working to cultivate the Catholic Social Teaching of life and dignity of the human person among their peers. Three of the group members attended the National March for Life with CJ in January, and the girls were also involved in the pro-life club’s Day of Silence in October. The four plan to continue their research and activism efforts up until they present at the Stang Symposium in April.

"I think the success this Senior Capstone group has had increasing awareness for pro-life issues is affirming because it shows that all of the hard work they've put in has been worthwhile," Colbert said.

One of the most encouraging parts of her Senior Capstone to this point, said Schultz, is that a group of juniors has already been in contact about picking up their pro-life project and continuing the effort next school year.