Elementary school students decorate school with sunflower drawings to show their support for their Ukrainian-American art teacher. Arina McAllister has been teaching art at Pevely Elementary in Pevely, Missouri, for seven years. A favorite teacher of many of the students, McAllister teaches her students to show their feelings through their artwork. This week, many of them did just that when they plastered the school’s hallways with colorful drawings of sunflowers, the national flower of Ukraine, to show their support for McAllister and her home country.
McAllister was born and raised in Kyiv, and many of her friends and family still live in Ukraine, so the last couple of weeks have been difficult for her. Not all the students understand what’s happening in Ukraine, but they know their teacher needs their love and support. A staff member at the school came up with the idea and teachers printed and passed out sunflower drawings that the kids colored and placed all around the school.
When McAllister arrived at school on Monday morning, she was surprised by the colorful show of support. "I looked and noticed sunflowers and they were growing more and more every minute," she says. "I never expected to grow a garden of love." By the end of Monday, there were hundreds of drawings of sunflowers and drawings bearing the yellow and blue of the Ukrainian flag. McAllister has been sharing the signs of support with her loved ones in Ukraine. "I think every single sunflower represents love and support and I have hope.” she says.