Hand-painted desks in an array of colors with flowers, movie characters and other designs covered Manchester Plaza Wednesday.
Wake Forest students from various organizations teamed up with 47 children from Old Town Elementary to decorate special desks designed for each individual child.
This annual tradition of desk decorating, known on campus as D.E.S.K (Discovering Education through Student Knowledge), began 14 years ago when Wake Forest students identified a need for study space in the homes of children they tutored. More than a dozen local sponsors help provide desks and other supplies for the event.
Seniors Jen Koniuk and Cary Sellers served as D.E.S.K co-chairs this year. “The joy in their eyes is worth every second spent to make this event happen,” Koniuk said.
Desk designs ranged from tiny yellow flowers to grassy green football fields. Jannery, 10, kneeled to help add the finishing touches to a starry night sky on her desk. “My cousins did D.E.S.K last year, so when I got invited this year I was so happy,” she said.
This year’s theme was “D.E.S.Kpicable Me: You’re One in a Minion,” but the Disney movie “Frozen” proved to be an even more popular design. “I love how excited the kids are,” junior Alex Dudley said as she helped paint a reindeer from the movie on one girl’s desk. “When they saw all the desks, they gasped.”
Wake Forest students also provide Old Town students with books, T-shirts and school supplies.
Junior Grace Hartley commented on the benefit of building relationships with children in the greater Winston-Salem community. “Getting to know local kids is a great way to connect Wake and Winston,” she said.
Old Town coordinator Jan Morgan also works with Wake Forest students who help with after-school tutoring and a “reading buddies” program. “I am impressed with the level of involvement here,” she said. “It is larger in scope than I could have imagined.”