Students from All Saints Catholic School with help from the Assisteens decorate the Tree of Hope with handmade decorations at the Roswell Museum and Art Center, Tuesday. Mark Wilson Photo
All Saints Catholic School students gathered at the Roswell Museum and Art Center on Tuesday to decorate a Tree of Hope, an annual cancer awareness project that dreams of a future in which the disease is no longer life-threatening.
Every student from grades K-8 crafted a decoration for the tree, which will remain on display at RMAC until Jan. 2.
Kindergarten teacher Bertha Reyes said decorations range from paper angels and bells to dried yuccas and dream catchers. Her students are studying plants and decorated the yuccas with their names, an activity that has helped students to see the circle of life, she said.
“I think they are so genuine in their feelings, and I know that my little kindnergartners were just all into it,” she said. “They prayed into their little projects, and they lifted whoever is suffering from cancer in their prayers.”
Pamela Rambin, who has coordinated the event since 1995, said the Tree of Hope is an opportunity to educate children about cancer, encouraging them to become part of the solution one day. When students arrived at RMAC, Rambin talked to them about the disease.
“I always ask them if they know somebody, and inevitably, nowadays, the kids, first- and second-grade, they already know that word, they already know at least two or three people who have it.
“They pretty well understand what it means, and that’s what they’re here for. We’re hoping for a cure in their lifetime.”
Rambin said her hope is that when students grow up, they will contribute to the search for a cure. “We could have biologists, scientists, doctors — any of these kids could be anything like that and could be the reason we have a cure one day.”
Fourth- and fifth-grade teacher Evelyn Kresymen said this is the fourth year All Saints Catholic School has participated in the project and that the benefits to the students’ involvement are many. Paper angels coincided with religious teachings, dream catchers triggered lessons in culture, and cancer awareness helps the students to see “there are people who are worse off than they are,” Kresymen said.
Kresymen said above all, the project teaches students to work together and share in a community spirit. “It makes them aware of the people who suffer with this, and with this concern is the fact they are doing something to make people more conscious, and that maybe some day there could be an end to it.”
The Assisteens, an auxiliary of the Assistance League of Chaves County, came to RMAC dressed as elves to help decorate the tree and were later joined by Santa Claus.
Rambin said the community is encouraged to drop by the museum this holiday season to view the Tree of Hope and its handmade decorations.