Middlesex Community College and Lowell’s Murkland Elementary School recently celebrated the installation of a colorful, moveable alphabet that combines English letters with multicultural images. Created last spring as a community-service project, the alphabet was designed by MCC students in Professor Jan Arabas’ Electronic Imaging course. The series of 52 upper- and lower-case letters incorporates graphic images of objects that start with each specific letter. (For example, images of a boat, banana and bubbles appear on the letter “B.”)
Murkland fourth-grade students, under the direction of Preschool/Kindergarten Special Education Teacher Sarah McPhee, created drawings of objects that MCC students also incorporated into some of the alphabet’s letters. This Middlesex-Murkland collaboration grew out of a trip to Cambodia made by Arabas and McPhee in the summer of 2010.
They were among the 13 MCC and Lowell Public Schools teachers who took part in a U.S. Department of Education Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad, designed to promote communication between American and Cambodian educators. The alphabet is installed in Murkland’s Early Childhood wing. The letters were professionally printed by ProForma Graphics. Printing costs were funded by the Cambodian Opera Fund, which is administered by the Cultural Council of Lowell.
This program is another great example of what can be accomplished by forging partnerships and tapping into the rich cultural and educational resources available to us here in Lowell.