Communities In Schools
Communities In Schools

What We're Made Of

​​​​"What We're Made Of"​

​A Message from First Lady Cathy Justice 

"​We all have moments that have shaped us and memories that have sustained us. We each have a story that has informed our personality and the way that we present ourselves to the world. The mission of the “What We’re Made Of” art project seeks to tell that story through art. 

My office, along with the Department of Education, chose six CIS students to participate in the “What We’re Made Of” art project, patterned after an initiative by the National CIS office. By featuring the students in a creative way, the project shows what each student is “made of” with art pieces featuring favorite memories, colors, activities, and items. We felt very lucky to collaborate with two incredible West Virginia art teachers on this special project, David Pushkin and Diana Frazier. 

It is our hope that by participating in this process, students are reminded how important their story is...and how they should be proud of where they came from, where they are...and where they are going." ​


​By: Diana Frazier

October 2021

On the day we met, Allie came across a​s a bubbly, energetic person who loved glittery things, the color pink and seashells. She seemed to be drawn to patterns, architecture and sculpture found in the garden, so I concentrated on her photos near those items. The hand-dr​awn Anime character Allie sent me in the mail was to add a personal touch to her collage. The poem by Celia Thaxter reminds us that the sunrise has never failed us - for a sense of hope.

Allie Artwork ​​


By: Diana Frazier​

October 2021

Joe was the first to graduate in his family. His class ring and the watch, which was a graduation present, are reminders of this big event. His happiest day yet was a day at Camden Park spent with his friends. The cards around the border are reminders of mornings spent in the cafeteria with his friends playing cards, along with paw prints that are reminders of his dog “Thor” whom he loves. The wooden parts are a representation of his goals to succeed in engineering at Marshall along with the epoxied car - gifts at Christmas and the skeleton is a Halloween reminder of Joe’s birthday!

Joe Artwork 


By: Diana Frazier

October 2021​

Upon meeting Raylin I could tell right away that she loved flowers including flowers in the garden where we met. Not only was she dressed with sunflower earrings but she also had sunflowers embellished on her shoes - which tells you a bit about how I would describe her personality… bright, beautiful - a natural spirit.

When asked to pick out objects from a pile of objects that I had taken to the picnic that “spoke” to her, one of the first objects she picked out was a seashell and some flower petals that were drying from one of my orchids. I then asked about the shell she had picked out and Raylin proceeded to tell me about her most favorite day - a trip to the beach with her mother and sister. She described the ocean in detail, smells, shells from the beach, the boardwalk and sights and sounds found at such a place. In my mind I envisioned so much light and happy moments. She further talked about days that were significant and happy and those were about Sundays being special to her - a time when her family would spend time gathered in worship and about her strong faith. The images of the cross help represent that belief.​

One of the most lasting memories from this “meeting” picnic was hearing her speak about her mother and the quote her mother says to her often - “I love you to the moon and back.”

Raylin Artwork 

​“Acceptance: An Integrity Portrait of Shelby”

By: David Pushkin

October 2021

Shelby is fifteen years old and is in her last year at Guyan Valley Middle School in Lincoln County. Shelby lost her mom in 2019. She is interested in pursuing her art. Shelby’s favorite subjects are history and science. She said that if she could, she would make school more fun and interesting for students. Shelby uses her drawings to express her emotions. Both Shelby and her sister inherited their mother’s artistic talent. They love to draw! Drawing gives Shelby “a safe place to dwell in this world.” Her work is currently inspired by Middle Eastern and Asian draconic spirits. These are spirits that carry meaning for the gods. Shelby likes the fact that, “Dragons are noodley and watch out for children and help them find the light.”

Portrait of Shelby ​

​​“Dr” Cooper

By: David Pushkin

October 2021

Cooper is a student at Braxton County Middle School who recently celebrated his 14th birthday. As an allegory, Cooper developed the idea of having himself portrayed as a neurosurgeon since he plans to pursue a career in medicine. During the 2020 school year, a few months before the pandemic hit, Cooper became affiliated with the Communities In Schools program. He had lost his father in a car accident while in elementary school, so as he had transitioned into middle school, he needed the support offered by Communities In Schools. Cooper noticeably has a deep awareness of himself and his potential to “give back” to society. His portrait depicts the division of his past and his promising future. His past is on the left, and Cooper says his family tragedy was a dark time in his life. The future, depicted on the right, is bright for Cooper and the many lives he will touch.

Portrait of Cooper 

​“The Bride: Kaylea”

By: David Pushkin

October 2021

Kaylea is a recent graduate of Woodrow ​Wilson High School in Raleigh County. She became affiliated with Communities In Schools to help her academic achievement. Kaylea was born and raised in Beckley. She loves nature and enjoys fishing and hiking in the woods. Her allegorical portrait displays an array of flowers that represent her desire to thrive. Kaylea recently married Keith Grose. She hopes to start a family and raise her children with love.

Portrait of Kaylea