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El Dorado students meet Chelsea Clinton, launch community art project

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Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton visited students, faculty and staff at El Dorado High School after an art teacher at the school won the Get Going Day community project contest, which was sponsored by Barnes & Noble.

Art teacher Candace Printz’s idea to make a difference in the border region involves a community clean-up campaign which will turn trash into artwork. She won the national bookstore’s “It’s Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!” project.

“Today was an exciting day for El Dorado High School,” said principal Cynthia Retana. “Our students were moved by Chelsea Clinton’s visit and her message. They will continue to search for opportunities to be leaders and improve our world.”

Printz entered the national contest in December 2015. The proposed plan will combat trash and pollution in the city through partnerships between the school and community groups in El Paso. The school will adopt a highway, collect, sort trash and recycle items to create artwork.

“I am very proud to know that out of all the projects submitted, ours was the one to be selected,” Printz said. “To have a mentor like Chelsea Clinton come and tell your kids they can make a difference in the world is something special.”

Students at the school also were excited about the visit and the launch of the new project.

“It’s exciting and surreal to know that this project is actually going to happen,” said senior Laura Rivera. “It’s even more surreal that Chelsea Clinton is going to help us accomplish it.”

During the presentation, Clinton told the students she would share information about El Dorado’s project through her website so that other schools could be inspired and motivated to do something similar.

“I am really glad that schools like this exist,” Clinton said. “It gives me hope for the future.”

Barnes & Noble also attended the special assembly to award the school their contest prize, a $1,000 gift card.

“We think El Dorado’s project is amazing,” said Alina Llevat, national business development manager for Barnes & Noble.  “The project will do well. It will benefit the community and will help inspire others to do the same.”

Printz and her students said the five phase project is not just about creating art or a sculpture but about educating the community to get involved and help clean the environment.

“The traveling art will be showcased at different galleries to demonstrate the art, show the environmental consequences and instill a sense of pride in the city,” Printz said.

The artwork will be available for purchase, with the proceeds benefiting the community groups who will help collect the trash, including the Humane Society of El Paso, the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The first exhibit is expected to be open April 2017, in celebration of Earth Day.
Click here for additional pictures of the event.
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