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    Making the Ordinary Extraordinary: Rota Elementary Community Remembers Ms. OP

    Making the Ordinary Extraordinary: Rota Elementary Community Remembers Ms. OP

    Photo By Petty Officer 2nd Class Drace Wilson | 240207-N-NC885-1065 NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain (February 7, 2024) Rocks painted by the...... read more read more



    Story by Courtney Pollock 

    Naval Station Rota, Spain

    The students at Rota Elementary School held a ceremony in honor of art teacher Angela Oliverson Pinto who passed away in late 2023. The ceremony included remarks by Principal Kenneth Kirk, a reading of a poem by Rota Girl Scouts, and the dedication of a memorial rock garden in the school’s courtyard, Feb. 7, 2024.

    “This afternoon, we gather to remember and pay tribute to Ms. Oliverson Pinto, affectionately known to our students as Ms. OP,” said Kirk. “She was not only an important part of our school but also a cherished member and friend within our wider community.”

    Kirk reflected on her career over the years as a teacher in Germany, Azores and Spain. Oliverson Pinto joined Rota Elementary School in 2016 as the art teacher.

    “She taught not only about art but also about the artists and their lives, explaining how their life stories influenced each artist's work,” he said. “She provided students with a deeper understanding of these artists' works, making the ordinary extraordinary. Students really learned to appreciate the meaning of art.”

    During her class, students were encouraged to learn about the lives of artists such as Frida Kahlo, Pablo Picasso, and Antoni Gaudi. She hoped it would help the children understand how an artist’s life influenced their work.

    Within the school, there are several physical reminders of Oliverson Pinto’s impact. She painted a buddy bench so students had a safe place if they felt lonely or needed to talk to someone, and her final project of painting an art mural in the first-grade hallway that kept students and faculty intrigued on what would be added next.

    “She spent the entire year painting this mural—the first mural she had ever painted,” explained Kirk. “Our first-grade students got to know Ms. OP as they walked past her in the hall, eagerly anticipating the surprises they would find upon its completion.”

    Similar to the artists’ lives she taught in the classroom, Oliverson Pinto’s mural is a reflection of her life.

    “Her art reflected aspects of her personality—full of color and joy, her love of animals, featuring images of her own cats and dogs, and her appreciation for perspective,” said Kirk.

    Rota Elementary School has added another space dedicated to her memory, a memorial rock garden, surrounding an olive tree in the school’s courtyard. The students painted rocks and were encouraged to draw inspiration from Oliverson Pinto or the artists she taught them about during her time in Rota.

    “Ms. OP was not very different from the artists she taught, in that as we learned more about Ms. OP, we gained a deeper understanding and appreciation for her as a person,” said Kirk. “She truly was extraordinary.”

    Rota Elementary School is Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school located on Naval Station (NAVSTA) Rota military base. In conjunction with Rota Middle/High School, the combined campus provides education for installation children, kindergarten through 12th grade. Rota Elementary School was a National Blue Ribbon Award school for 2022.

    As the "Gateway to the Mediterranean,” NAVSTA Rota provides U.S., NATO and allied forces a strategic hub for operations in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. NAVSTA Rota is a force multiplier, capable of promptly deploying and supporting combat-ready forces through land, air and sea, enabling warfighters and their families, sustaining the fleet and fostering the U.S. and Spanish partnership.



    Date Taken: 02.22.2024
    Date Posted: 03.01.2024 05:09
    Story ID: 465066
    Location: ES

    Web Views: 37
    Downloads: 0