Middle schoolers thank experts in the art of healing with some art of their own

March 22, 2021
Painting by a student named Kayla shows light coming into a hospital room.
Eighth-grader Kayla Rivero painted doctors staying by a patient's side until the end. "It really affects me emotionally to just think of losing someone, so I can’t even imagine the pain people feel to lose family members to COVID."

When Adeline Martin-Lauzer’s class at Rollings Middle School of the Arts was asked to thank health care heroes during the coronavirus pandemic, the seventh-grader was all in. “They’re constantly saving people’s lives. Without them, I wouldn’t be walking.”


Three years ago, when Adeline was 9, she had spine surgery at MUSC Children’s Hospital in Charleston, South Carolina. Neurosurgeon Ramin Eskandari left a big impression, not only through his expertise but also through his warm and caring manner.

Painting by Adeline Martin-Lauzer. 
Adeline Martin-Lauzer used her own experience as inspiration for her painting.

So Adeline painted a picture of herself in the hospital, with the word “savior” at the bottom to thank him and his team. Then, Adeline’s family went a step further – and mailed the painting to the surgeon. 

Dr. Ramin Eskandari holds painting made by a former patient. 
Dr. Ramin Eskandari

Eskandari, who has continued to work throughout the pandemic, was overwhelmed. “When I looked at the painting, read the words in the emotional letter that her parents wrote and saw the wonderfully kind, strong, beautiful young girl that Adeline has become, I could only think of one word: grateful,” he said.

That’s exactly the kind of reaction Adeline’s school was hoping for with its Gratitude Project, which includes paintings, drawings and encouraging words from its Summerville students.


“Never stop what you do, even when times get rough,” one boy wrote. “When the times are rough, you just think about the things you can do and the people you help.”


Noah Cullinan, an eighth-grader, drew a thank-you picture that showed just how tough health care workers can be in the battle with the coronavirus. “I was inspired to show the health care hero fighting and winning over COVID-19 in my drawing, as that is how I see things,” he said.


Picture by Noah Cullinan, an eighth grader from Summerville, showing a doctor standing on top of the coronavirus. 
Noah Cullinan portrays the pandemic as an actual battle, with a doctor as the victor.

Kayla Faminiano Rivero painted health care workers in full personal protective equipment with a COVID-19 patient. “I heard on the news one day that doctors stayed at a patient’s side while they were passing away in place of the patient’s child because they could not go near the patient,” she wrote. “The ‘thank you’ is supposed to be from both a patient and a relative’s point of view.”

Student's artwork showing heroic doctors. 
Taylor Gordon portrays doctors as welcoming.

Another student’s artwork showed a pair of health care workers against a bright pink background.

And a boy named Juan Miguel Hernandez Conception wrote, “Because of you we all feel safer and less worried about this horrible pandemic. Thank you so much!”


School counselor Dinoca Ihrig hopes health care workers across the Lowcountry will see the kids’ words, drawings and paintings. She shared a PowerPoint presentation containing all of the students’ work.


Picture of a woman in a mask holding a child. 
Amy Oldham was inspired by the idea of kids who are homeless or hospitalized. "Health care workers are taking care of these kids in the stead of their families during COVID-19 and are doing their best for these children."

It begins by saying, “We are so grateful for you!” It goes on to thank “health care heroes” for all of the hours they’ve put in during this tumultuous time, noting that the children respect and honor them. “We hope these bring renewed strength, energy and inspiration,” it concludes.

The project definitely inspired Eskandari. “I am grateful to have this privilege in life, to be given the ultimate trust by my patients –  to be allowed to make a difference in the lives of those who will go on and make our world a better place.”