PostSecret Classroom Art Project Helps Ninth Graders Open Up

Tory Bullock (standing) leads a discussion at the Boston Arts Academy. Photo credits: Kayana Szymczak, The Boston Globe
This summer Tory Bullock instructed students at the Boston Arts Academy to participate in the cultural art experiment that has swept the nation over the last few years, PostSecret.
Created by founder Frank Warren, PostSecret is an ongoing community art project/experiment where people around the world mail in secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard and every Sunday Frank uploads a selection of scanned copies of the postcards he receives.
“It was very, very difficult to get kids to really participate in the beginning, though some did open up,” Bullock told the Boston Globe.
Bullock gave her ninth-grade students some blank postcards, some glitter and some glue and asked them to open up about a range of topics including sex, drugs and violence, sharing their most private thoughts.
As part of a five-week program recent graduates, who were brought in to instruct the classes, have held group discussions and encouraged the kids to express themselves through music, theater, and martial arts programs.
“If you’re a ninth-grader, you don’t want to talk about gangs, about violence in school,’’ said Shonda Huery, Assistant Chief Academic Officer of the Boston Public School System. “Because these instructors are so close in age, they are able to create a safe haven for the students, to say, ‘It’s OK, let’s talk about these issues.’ ’’
Group leaders are trying to introduce the art programs into the curriculum in hopes of sparking a much needed interest and spike in participation, especially by the ninth-grade students.
“We’re really trying to use the arts — something that they actually like and can relate to — to get them to use summer school as an opportunity to catch up and go back to school,’’ Huery said.
It seems like a great way to incorporate art, creativity and self expression into the delicate area of counseling discussions in the classrooms and as an avid fan and supporter of the PostSecret project I hope more teachers across the country will encourage their students to participate in the community project!