Meadow Noah sat at a table in Carlee Martin’s Blue Springs South High School ceramics class/studio and began creating something special.
“This is what I do; this is who I am,” said Noah, a senior and a longtime member of the Martin’s Mudthrowers, a group of students dedicated to the art of throwing ceramic bowls and other creations.
“When I am in here, I feel free. I feel relaxed. This is my second home – although I spend so much time in here it could be my first home. And that’s why I love Bowls for Souls so much. We get to be creative, we get to be with our (Mudthrowers) family and we get to help people. It’s perfect.”
Noah has already thrown 28 ceramic bowls and hopes to top the 50 mark in preparation for the 4:30 to 7 p.m. Bowls for Souls, that takes place Feb. 8 at Blue Springs South before the big rivalry basketball game with crosstown rival Blue Springs.
For a $10 ticket, patrons can select one of the students’ ceramic bowls (you actually eat your chili out of disposable bowls to save on cleanup), chili and a ticket for the game.
It will be the fifth annual event, which is the brainchild of the ceramics teacher whose passion for her craft, her students and her community is heartfelt and real.
“I’ve been teacher at South for 10 years,” said Martin, as she and her Mudthrowers put the finishing touches on some Bowls for Souls bowls. “I love this school so much, and a few years back I got to thinking, ‘What can I do – what can we do – to give back to our community? To help those who are really in need of help?”
So she talked with South student senate sponsor Susan Bubalo about a “crazy idea” she had.
“I had this crazy idea, but it was so much bigger than me; I could have never pulled it off without Susan and her student senate kids,” Martin said. “What if we created a bunch of ceramic bowls, fed people some chili and helped our kids in our school and in the community?”
“That was five years ago, and this year, we hope to make 300 bowls. Last year, we had right at 250, and we’re looking to reach at least 300 this year.”
As she spoke, Noah grinned and nodded in agreement.
“We’re making a lot of bowls and we’re going to still be making bowls right up until that week,” Noah said. “We want to make it bigger and better every year.”
That comment drew the approval of first-year Mudthrower Garrett Dimitras, who got hooked on ceramics in Ceramics I with Martin.
“You come in Ms. Martin’s class, and see all the wheels and all the bowls and you just get excited,” Dimitras said. “It’s so great to have fun, create something special and help people.”
The funds for this year’s event will go toward filling the backpacks for the South students’ Backpack Program, along with funding a dinner and gifts for the students who live in Blue Springs hotels along the North Outer Road.
“The money goes to great causes and helps a lot of kids,” said Martin, who spoke softly and, at times, battled her emotions.
“A few years ago, I had a student who was very hard to reach. In fact, she quit school, but came back. We went down to the City Union Mission to serve meals, and she was really overcome by emotion.”
“She told me it was wonderful to be on this side – the side serving the meals – instead of the side receiving the food. She and her family had been homeless, and none of us knew. What a blessing we are able to make in the lives of so many of our students and those people we help.”
“When I watch our kids make bowls, and get excited for Bowls for Souls and other things we do, like working at a homeless shelter, I feel so blessed. I work at the best school in the world, with the best kids and have the best job.
“Anytime I can give something back – no matter how big or how small – I’m going to do it.”
And her South students are going to be right alongside.
“Our school is so special,” said senior Olivia Michael, a member of the South student senate. “Bowls for Souls is one of our biggest events. The Mudthrowers make all the great bowls, we get to eat chili and watch a basketball game.”
“And it’s all because of Ms. Martin and her students, who really work hard to make it all happen. It just makes me proud to say I got to Blue Springs South.”