Young students make bobbleheads; purpose behind this art project

Summer fun in the classroom can come in many forms. Making bobbleheads out of modeling clay is one, and there's a big purpose behind this art project.

At Westside Academy in Milwaukee, a group of third through fifth graders is participating in SHARP'S Summer Learning Program and STEAM Dream Team. 

"They get to take science, technology, engineering, art and math all with a baseball theme," said Mary Patscot Rocha, SHARP educator and spokeswoman.

Mary Patscot Rocha

It's an initiative to keep kids engaged outside the regular school year. 

"What programming like ours does is that it helps close the gap with summer slide," said Rocha.

Funded in part by the Brewers Community Foundation, American Family Insurance and former Brewer Ryan Braun, the kids' itinerary had to have a baseball feel. 

"Their curriculum is set up like innings," said Rocha. "Their inning today is specific to bobbleheads and financial literacy as well as incorporating some time to get outside and play."

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The first inning of the day featured many of these kids hitting a home run with their bobbleheads. 

"I made like the Bucks mascot holding a basketball," said Keven Clay, a fifth grader at Westside Academy. "I learned that you can sculpt anything."

From Bango, to even the Chicago Bulls mascot and many more creations, the creativity flowed. 

"I like baseball," said Katelyn Bethly, a third-grader at Westside Academy. "That’s why I made myself as a bobblehead."

They may be at school during the summer, but these kids are happy to be here. 

"I like it here better because you get to do fun activities and my favorite part is to play outside," said Clay.

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And play they did, as they learned the game of baseball. 

"The baseball element is more about team building, physical fitness, activities and working together," said Rocha.

This program has a bit of everything for every kid. Even for 9-year-old Cyiar Tate, who wants to major in science one day. 

"It’s pursuing my dreams when I get older, and it’s actually helping me with what I want to do," said Cyiar Tate, a fourth grader at Westside Academy. 

That's the goal, to help broaden their horizons. 

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"Every day, I do come away from teaching with a feeling of satisfaction that I helped contribute to broadening the lives of students in our city and in urban areas," said Rocha. "Mostly the joy and connectivity that is made throughout our time together."

It was a successful day indeed, one that absolutely knocked it out of the park for these eager learners. 

SHARP Literacy also has six other programs running this summer to include 30 urban schools and community learning centers in Milwaukee and Waukesha. Nearly 1,000 students have been reached this summer.