By Kelsey Musick
Ella Nooning, a 14-year-old eighth-grader, is one of the hardest-working students at Zionsville Middle School, according to her art teacher Jennifer Gibson, who has taught at ZMS for 17 years.
Gibson said Nooning decided to write a grant because she noticed a need for additional student resources, such as the art materials that make up the ‘art cart.’ The $500 grant allows for four of the art carts to be assembled placed in grade-level resource rooms.
The art supplies are on a cart for portability so that they can be easily delivered to a student in distress.
“I know that middle school can be really stressful and cause a lot of anxiety, because it has for me,” Nooning said. “But art has really helped me, so I wanted it to help other students, too.
Gibson was impressed by Nooning’s ability to form an idea for the grant and her ability and drive to create a PowerPoint-funding spreadsheet and presentation for Zionsville Education Foundation director Lyle Browne. Ultimately, the grant wasn’t funded by ZEF because it funds teacher-inspired grants, but Nooning’s grant was funded by the Zionsville Educational Services Center.
“When (Nooning) is met with a challenge, it pushes her to work harder and strive for better,” Gibson said. “It fills me with joy to work alongside her. By helping other students who may struggle with similar pressures, she is creating a legacy that will have a positive impact on future ZMS students.”
Gibson said Nooning has overcome a lot of obstacles, and art therapy has been a huge part of her story.
“Her excitement is contagious and causes other students to strive to perform better,” Gibson said. “When she approached me about her grant idea, what struck me as important was how her idea would have a positive impact on future ZMS students.”