Project Blog » Meet Michelle and Carly at the Youth Expo!
Meet Michelle and Carly at the Youth Expo!
One of the exciting features of the upcoming national conference is the Youth Expo, which will run from 1:00 pm on July 3 through noon on July 6. Stop by throughout the conference for the different activities, including an area where you can fold cranes with two girls who are coming to Denver all the way from Minnesota!
These two young people are aiming to engage communities to fold cranes in honor of all of the Japanese Americans who were incarcerated during WWII. A photo of the two girls is attached, and a bio explaining their inspirations for undertaking this task is below.
Please be sure to stop by the 4th Floor's Youth Expo to meet them and help them accomplish their goal! Keep up the good work, Carly and Michelle!!!
Carly (14) and Michelle (14) are friends who live in Minnesota. In the fall of 2006, they decided to make a documentary for National History Day. The topic that year was “Triumph and Tragedy in History.” They called their documentary The Art and Soul of Topaz Relocation Center.
They wanted to do a documentary about tolerance and when they came across a book called Topaz Moon, they knew they had found their topic. The book is about Chiura Obata, a Japanese American painter interned at Topaz Relocation Center. Both girls love art and were immediately inspired by these paintings and how Obata’s art school at Topaz helped the internees cope with life in the camp. They worked on this ten minute documentary for seven months. They had to learn how to do in-depth research on their topic, write a script, and use the video software. Each girl complimented the other. Carly is a wizard at the software technology and finding music; Michelle is excellent at research and writing. Their video made first place at the Minnesota regional competition and they made it to the top seven documentaries at the state competition, out of over two hundred documentary entries.
After watching the film Paper Clips, which is a documentary about a school that collected a paper clip for every person killed during the Holocaust, Michelle had the idea to design a memorial for the Japanese Americans interned during World War II. She wanted to make origami paper cranes and display them in a Plexiglas box. Carly loves making paper cranes, too, so she joined the effort. As their research for National History Day continued and they met Steve K and Jane B via email from the Topaz Museum, the girls decided to fine-tune the memorial specifically for Topaz. Although Carly and Michelle were not at the pilgrimage to Topaz in 2007, Jane B set up a table so the Japanese Americans could make origami paper cranes in honor of their loved ones who were at the camp. Michelle and Carly’s goal is to get the Japanese American community involved in making the cranes, too. If there is enough interest, the project could easily expand to all the camp museums.
Besides working to build a more tolerant America, Carly and Michelle enjoy training their dogs, Kira and Mira, in agility training. Carly loves music and plays the trumpet and piano. She plans to learn the guitar this summer. She also loves the outdoors and gardening. Michelle loves languages and studies German and Latin. In addition, she is in the Tanzgruppe, a German folk dancing group. Both girls love reading and traveling. Michelle has been to Japan and found the people there gracious, kind, funny and amazing.
Most Americans come from someplace else and Carly and Michelle are no exception. They both hail from Europe, mostly Germany. Both girls are dedicated to building tolerance and respect between cultures and are honored to tell the story of the Topaz art school.