A basket of apples drawn using a black marker then painted with watercolors by Crossroads Elementary School student Sherbitu Evangeline “Evie” Vanderpool was selected for VSA of Kentucky’s A Matter of Perspective Traveling Exhibit.
The artistic creation by the seven year-old daughter of Robert and Sarah Vanderpool of Mt. Washington will be part of an annual exhibit comprised of original artwork created by students with disabilities from across Kentucky. This art exhibit is available to schools, museums, businesses, libraries, and hospitals across the Commonwealth each year.
Evie’s teacher, Teresa Cox, called the first grade student, “A remarkable young lady.”
“Evie has a big personality,” Cox said. “Her art reflects her colorful spirit and ‘can do’ attitude. Evie is a precious gift and continues to make great strides in her effort to achieve everything she sets her mind to do.”
Cox has entered student art each year since Crossroads opened.
“All students should have an opportunity to experience success and be recognized for their work,” she said.
According to Sarah Vanderpool, Evie was given the name Sherbitu in her home country of Ethiopia and it means ‘quiet, and contemplative.’
“That definition is definitely not our Evie!” Sarah smiled.
Evangeline means ‘good news’ and that aptly describes Vanderpool’s feelings when they got the news that Evie would be joining their family.
“We were overjoyed!” Sarah said. “Evie spent the first two years of her life in Ethiopia, where her multiple medical needs were met to the best of the ability of the loving staff of nurses and nannies in an orphanage.”
Chronic ear infections and hypertrophic adenoids had taken most of Evie’s hearing (down to 20%) and nystagmus, strabismus, and severe myopia left her with little means to explore the world around her.
The Vanderpools were amazed at Evie’s resilience.
“She always had a smile on her face and loved to laugh!” Sarah noted.
When Evie was about 2½ years old, she came home to Louisville, KY, and joined her new family. Sarah described she was able to benefit from First Steps briefly before being enrolled in Visually Impaired Preschool Services of Louisville.
“There, with intense speech, occupational, physical, and vision therapy, Evie was able to grow and learn, and thrive. After multiple surgeries on her ears and eyes, she has regained her full ability to hear and is able to use her limited vision very well,” Sarah said.
In the summer of 2018, Evie added ADHD and Developmental Delay to her alphabet soup of diagnoses, but nothing has slowed down her energy and joy in life.
“She loves to sing and dance and move,” Sarah said. “She absorbs everything around her and replays it in her own little make-believe world every day. She is extremely compassionate. Any time she hears or sees someone else cry, she will tear up right along with them!”
VSA Kentucky is a non-profit organization that promotes arts, education and creative expression for all. Teachers are encouraged to submit their students’ original artwork each fall in order to participate in the exhibition.