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Franklin Elementary students offer ideas for a better future for Los Angeles

Franklin Elementary School students (from left to right) Oldana Taylor, Sierra Bloemsma, Charlotte F
Franklin Elementary School students (from left) Oldana Taylor, Sierra Bloemsma, Charlotte Fernandez-Walker, Sol Oyebade, Linus Hartigan, Lyra Hunter and Harper Glassing competed to have their art featured in the Grand Park + The Music Center New Year’s Eve Los Angeles countdown.
(Andrew J. Campa / Glendale News-Press)

Franklin Elementary School students will help ring in 2019 as their work will be featured during this year’s sixth annual Grand Park + the Music Center’s New Year’s Eve Los Angeles party on Dec. 31.

The event is taking place in a large swath stretching from Grand Avenue to L.A. City Hall, between Temple Street and 2nd Street in downtown Los Angeles. Approximately 50,000 people are expected to attend from 8 p.m. on Dec. 31 to 1 a.m. the following day.

Part of the celebration will include art from Los Angeles County fifth- and sixth-grade students, including from Franklin.

Students from across the county were asked to imagine “the best of what Los Angeles can become” in essays, drawings, video and poetry.


Seventy drawings, 60 essays and 10 poems were selected and will be presented during a 3-D animated display countdown to midnight.

Several students from the sixth-grade English class of Franklin Elementary’s Antonella Hartel Ventura took part with Linus Hartigan, Ani Thomassian, Calandria Medina, Julia Ongaro and Vega Keller having their entries selected.

“I’m super happy for the kids,” Hartel Ventura said. “I know them. I know they’re super creative and very expressive. I give them writing assignments, so I know how they write, and they have great discussions in class. This is important. The future is important to them.”

Hartigan wrote an essay entitled, “My Dream L.A.,” in which he said not enough strange things happen in Los Angeles.


“In my piece, I said I’d like to see a pig driving down the side of the road next to sign that says, ‘I am a pig,’” Hartigan said. “I’d like to see more weird things like that in L.A., and I think that’s why they picked it.”

Medina drew a globe in which cities were interconnected through highways that brought urban and rural environments together, while Ongaro’s drawing consisted of clear, pollution-free blue skies above Glendale.

While the majority of Hartel Ventura’s students did not win, most enjoyed the experience.

Italian-language immersion student Gianluca Vispi wrote an essay about homelessness.

“They should get little homes that have fresh water, and they should be able to access to food and bathrooms,” Vispi said of the homeless. “When I see homeless people here in Glendale, I just wonder what happened for them to get to this point.”

Charlotte Fernandez-Walker’s drawing was intended to lighten the mood of a sometimes intense city.

“What I drew was a city full of blah fishes,” she said. “I felt like drawing that because I felt like L.A. needed more comedy. All you see L.A. is in horror movies and murder movies. How about some fun movies too?”


Twitter @campadresports