DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -An alternative high school in Stephens County is working to change the community's perspective of their students through art work.
The students who attend the school come from Comanche, Walters, Velma and Ryan. The students face a number of challenges, like behavioral problems, pregnancy and some have even dropped out of school. The students from FAME Academy put on an art exhibit showcasing the work they've created throughout the school year. The students displayed pottery, mosaics and even crochet pieces.
One of the students is not only a senior at FAME Academy, but also a mother. She says her purpose for taking part in today's event was to show the community she is not defined by her situation.
When Kelle Sharles was 14, she became a single mother to a baby boy. She says the decision to keep her child took her life down a different path. That's why a piece of mosaic tile holds a special meaning.
"It's just the wolf by itself, but it's still standing up to the moon, who's bigger than what it is no matter what. That represents how when I had my little boy I never gave up, no matter if I was by myself or what. I still keep pushing and I finished school and I raised him by myself," Sharles said.
After having her son, she tried to continue her high school education online, but that didn't work. So, after hearing about the FAME Academy from a cousin, her family made the choice to enroll her in the school. A decision she says turned her life around.
"We don't just come to school, the school helps us. These teachers are our counselors and our best friends. The art gives us a way to express ourselves without getting in trouble," Sharles said.
FAME Academy director Elizabeth Ressel says sometimes FAME kids are the forgotten ones and they don't always know where they fit in at high school. She says offering an alternative form of learning is sometimes a better option.
"Being able to help them and to find ways to motivate them to continue in education makes me fill great," Ressel said.
Sharles said the art show has restored her positive self-esteem. She feels it will help her push forward to brighter future for her family.
"The artwork itself is a way to just be at peace and work with your inner spirit," Sharles said. "It makes me feel happy because maybe more students like myself and other students will join and be able to get their diploma rather than giving up."
Students also used the art show to show off their community garden they will use to help feed residents who shop at the local food bank.
More than 40 students took part in the art show. This is the tenth year for the event.