time, Arabas explained. After meeting with
students and teachers at Murkland, the MCC
students designed the letters during spring
semester 2011. The alphabet was printed (on a
type of plastic) by ProForma Graphics last
summer, and installed at the school in
October. Printing costs were funded by the
Cambodian Opera Fund, which is
administered by the Cultural Council of
complete a community-service project to give
students the opportunity to work on a "real
world" project, facing "real deadlines" and
"real clients," she said. As part of the
assignment, the 36 MCC students also had to
conduct research into the way young children
was, `Who are we designing this alphabet
for?' " Arabas explained. "Basically, they
learned their clients were younger than 5 years
old and less than 3 feet tall!"
target audience was, the class held a lottery to
decide who would design which letters. ("Q"
and "X" were especially challenging, said
Arabas.) As part of their research, they had to
figure out what word/image associations their
pint-sized clients might make. That is, when a
preschooler thinks of the letter "O," the first
word that pops into their minds probably isn't
"ozone." But they just might think of "orange."
designing the letter "B," she showed her
design to her roommate's two young nieces.
"They said I should use `ball' and `boat' in my
letter. So, I made sure I added pictures of those
two things," said Keeney.
incorporate the drawings made by the
Murkland fourth-graders. For the letter "K,"
for example, one young artist drew a picture of
cute, pink Kirby, something that caught many
of the college students off guard. However,
Kirby is the star-character of a wildly popular
children's video game. To a preschooler, if you
see "Kirby," you think "K."
highly colorful, multicultural images, which
makes them not only an effective teaching
tool, but also a powerful visual welcome for
the entire school community, said Murkland
Principal Jason DiCarlo.
yet it's purposeful, too," said DiCarlo. "It
shows that our school environment is very kid
friendly. Everybody loves it the students, the
staff and our parents."
many between Middlesex and the Lowell
Public Schools, illustrates how the college is
helping K-12 teachers and schools prepare the
college students of tomorrow, said Jean
Franco, Superintendent of the Lowell Public
we can do for the young people that we
share since many of our students go to
MCC. We all want kids who are prepared and
college ready, and who have access to higher
education," she said. "This is just the
beginning of many more successful
partnerships to come."
Murkland alphabet project, contact MCC Art
Professor Jan Arabas at 781-280-2276 or
and her letter "B."
voice students will perform at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 10, in MCC's Federal Building Assembly Room, 50 Kearney
Square, on the Lowell campus.