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West Jordan Journal

Connecting the world through gaming, anime, music

Jul 28, 2017 10:01AM ● By Jet Burnham

Anime is popular around the world. (Jordan School District)

Through chalk art drawings, West Jordan Middle School students expressed the unique ways they connect with the world. Drawings were created during the school’s “Around the World”-themed chalk art show.

“It was a wide-reaching theme where they could really do almost anything,” said fine arts chair Cara Bailey.


One interpretation of the theme was created by Devin Sailors and Landon Whitney. 

“We are big gamers,” said Landon. “We wanted to show that gaming can connect people all over the world.”

The boys play games with international participants through various game consoles. 

“Consoles can connect people from different parts of the world that you never knew about to new parts of the world they never knew about,” said Devin.

As they play games with people who live in different countries, the boys chat with them through headsets. 

Landon said he’s been able to learn about different places in the world without going there.

“It was very interesting talking to these people and learning about what it would be like if I were to be there,” he said. He is surprised by how much he has in common with the people he meets.

“That was surprising to me considering how far away and what a different area they live in, how similar we were in everyday life activities,” Landon said. He discovered that other teens have the same problems with their younger siblings, parents and school. 

Devon discovered a gamer from Mexico who shares his love of cars.

“He rebuilds cars with his dad like I do with my dad, so that’s a big connection for me,” he said. Devin also connected with a boy through baseball. Devin told the boy about the baseball team he plays on. The boy told Devin how he uses a metal pipe he found in an abandoned building and a coconut to play baseball games in his neighborhood. 


Sierra Holdman thinks architecture connects people around the world. She created a colorful St. Basil’s Cathedral in chalk.

“I love looking at old buildings and architecture—especially old buildings around the world.” She said people can learn about different cultures from the buildings they built. 

“You can really understand how other people are, and you can see how architecture is so different in other areas,” she said.


Another piece, designed by Denise Ibarra, illustrated how entertainment has influence around the world.

“I chose an anime theme because a lot of people watch it,” said Denise. She said that by understanding another culture, people realize they have shared interests. She believes people from all parts of the world can relate to the themes and characters of anime.

“Even though everyone’s different, we’re all humans,” she said. “We all feel; we all have experiences.” 


Maddi Page included landmarks she saw in her travels to Europe in her piece. She said traveling has helped her appreciate other cultures. 

“Understanding other countries helps you to not judge other people,” she said. “You can’t judge someone for what they’ve been raised to do.” 


Melanie Moreno and her friends created a chalk art piece that represents their Hispanic culture. They included the flags of Panama, Cuba and Venezuela, and a folklore dancer, a mariachi and a heart. 

“The heartbeat represents that we have the same heart, no matter what color,” Melanie said.

She has traveled a lot, visiting family in Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Venezuela.

“It gives me many perspectives on many cultures,” she said. “It makes me see that no matter where you’re from, we all have the same characteristics.” 


Ninety-seven students drew pictures on the sidewalk in front of the school. Another 140 participated by performing music from around the world. 

Nick Pulsipher, band and orchestra director at WJMS, volunteered the groups to perform music to entertain and inspire the artists as they worked. 

“The pieces range from a simple folk song from the British Isles to a piece depicting the legend of Tutankhamun’s curse,” said Pulsipher.