SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) –  A new art initiative in Suffolk teaches children valuable lessons from collaboration to learning and that there is more than one way to look at things in life.

Inside Kilby Shores Elementary are some Monster Collaborators! 5-year-old Nolan Delugo was excited when he learned he and his classmates were going to draw monsters! He shared his drawing of a one-eyed monster he calls “Nolan Bolan.”

Why did he draw his monster with only one eye?

“Because he’s a monster!” said Nolan.

Sophia Martinez Monster Collaborators Artwork

Meanwhile, King’s Fork High School Art Students prepped for their part in the assignment after the kindergarteners’ drew their monsters.

“It was our turn to come up with a story and create a background that correlates to the monster’s story,” says Sophia Martinez, a senior at King’s Fork High School

Martinez said she loved transforming the little ones’ artwork into a new illustration with a story.

The mind behind Monster Collaborators is first-year King’s Fork Art Teacher, Sarah Rhodes. She says she got the idea from an art teachers’ group and transformed it into an author/illustrator lesson.

“They got a little insight in how to become an illustrator for children’s books,” said Rhodes.

In a special twist, Ms. Rhodes got to collaborate with the woman who sparked her love of art, her former art teacher at Kilby Shores Elementary, Angie Salerno.

“I’m beyond proud, and she graduated from the high school which she’s now teaching at which is really super wonderful,” said Salerno.

Salerno prepped her kindergarten artists for the project.

“We saw a slide show I made about monsters, and different kinds, and then we talked about attributes and then adjectives about monsters.”

She says she loves the project because it shows kids how to look at things differently.

“They see more details. They see how things can be more than what their one little idea was.”

The children were so excited to see the monster reveal. There were smiles galore as their teacher read them the stories about their newly drawn monsters.

Monster Collaborators is so popular, Suffolk School Administrators say it will now become an annual, district-wide project.