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Students' artwork creates 'Happiest Hour' at Adat Shalom preschool in Indiana Township

| Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Sharon Drake | The Herald
Ben Kirby, 3, points out the astronaut with his face in his collage to his mother, Judy, at the Happiest Hour Art Show.
Sharon Drake | The Herald
Levi, 4, tells sister Hannah, and mother, Megan Amster, about a fall trip to a pumpkin patch. The art collected all year long was part of the Happiest Hour gallery crawl for the Adat Shalom preschool.
Sharon Drake | The Herald
Khai Dinh lifts his son Andrew, 4, up to the leaf painting while grandfather, Malcolm Berger, looks on.
Sharon Drake | The Herald
Teacher Pamela Stasolla and school director Gail Schmitt watch Jacob Stasolla, as well as Zachary and Liviya Rubin show slides on the computer.

Parents, grandparents and siblings — while toasting with goblets of chocolate milk — strolled the corridors of Adat Shalom last week during a “Happiest Hour” featuring a display of art created by the more than 60 children who attend preschool classes there.

Works of art made throughout the year were stowed away until they were exhibited on the walls and windows curving around the central courtyard of the synagogue along Guys Run Road in Indiana Township.

Teachers chose at least three pieces produced by each student. Some of the displayed paintings and collages reached toward the ceilings.

Andrew Dinh, 4, was in the arms of his father, Khai, to point out his colorfully painted leaves, while his mother, Dana, and grandfather, Malcolm Berger, viewed his art.

Andrew is in a three-day-a-week program.

“Almost everybody comes to this event,” school director Gail Schmitt said.

The “Happiest Hour” pulls the school community into the art exhibit, and it has been a highlight for “many, many years,” Schmitt said.

The teachers try to choose work that is especially good or shows a certain type of process.

“The main impetus is for families to celebrate their child's uniqueness,” Schmitt said.

The drizzling rain couldn't dampen the happy time. The evening began with dinner. Silent-auction items included an artistic cake, an Evgeni Malkin hockey jersey and a dozen other items. Each age group contributed a basket with a child-centered theme for a raffle.

The preschool started in 1993 in Aspinwall before moving into rooms at Adat Shalom. Open to children of all denominations and races, those who attend learn about Jewish holidays and celebrate Shabbat on Fridays.

Sharon Drake is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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