By Dorothy K. LaMantia | Correspondent
Kayla Tarniowy, a third-grade student at St. Benedict School, Holmdel, was delighted when she learned her original drawing was chosen as the official logo of the 2018 Day of Service for all elementary schools in the Diocese of Trenton.
“I am so happy because it’s going to be on everything – bags and T-shirts,” said Kayla, who was awarded a certificate March 23 by Judy Nicastro, diocesan director of school services/school data management.
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Kayla’s design – a red heart containing a black and white drawing of a hospital and the smiling faces of a girl and a boy – was singled out from the 539 entries submitted by students in grades two through eight from 14 schools in the Diocese. It will be featured on anything associated with the Day of Service campaign, from local fundraising T-shirts and gift bags to posters, fliers and the like.
The focus of the Day of Service, themed “Hearts to Hospitals: Hearts to Lead – Hands to Help,” is to collect, package and distribute items such as toys, gift cards and sweets for sick children and their families in hospitals in Burlington, Mercer, Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Items are currently being collected. Students will assemble the gift packages on April 27 and distribute them the week of April 29.
“I knew there are kids in need. I decided it had to have a hospital,” Kayla said in explaining where she got the idea for her logo. “Then I added the kids to it.”
She admitted trying a few variations on her design, but she heeded her mother’s advice to keep it simple.
Kayla, who said, “Maybe I’ll be an artist when I grow up” is the daughter of Arek and Beata Tarniowy. Her brother, Jonathan, is in the second grade.
Joann Mertz, Kayla’s art teacher, said the youngster was selected as an “Artist to Watch” during the school’s annual Youth Art Month celebration.
“She’s been an outstanding talent since kindergarten and is always eager to improve her ability,” Mertz said, adding that Kayla attends the afterschool art studio that meets for an hour and a half after school.
Noreen Potterton, the school’s acting co-principal, said she’s heard from Kayla’s teachers that the young girl goes above and beyond to be helpful to others.
“We’re so proud of her,” Potterton said. “She is an outstanding student whose creativity shows, and she is amazingly kind as well.”
There is much support at the school for the upcoming Day of Service, as a sixth-grade student with Hodgkin’s lymphoma has created awareness about the needs of sick children in hospitals.
Catholic schools in the Diocese have been gearing up for the Day of Service by collecting small toys, arts and crafts articles, books and gift cards of every kind.
Students will write and design their own “get well” cards to accompany the gift bags.
Throughout April, classroom lessons are reflecting issues related to childhood illness and the moral imperative to care for the sick.
“It will be a collective effort among all the schools,” Nicastro said. “It’s about kids helping kids. Everyone is participating in some way.”