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East Aurora High School Art Dept. Memorial Day POPPY PROJECT Sells Hand-made, Staked, 3-foot Ceramic Poppies for $25 Benefitting Veteran Smiles...Order Details Here

Updated: May 13

Tuck these ceramic poppies into your own garden for a spot of color that benefits those who have served needing dental reconstruction. Order info below including a QR code!

Fine arts teacher, Nicole Yingst, states that last year all the signs were there for her to institute this national art project within her own art department where 100 percent of the proceeds selling the students' hand-crafted poppies benefit a now national veterans organization called Veteran Smiles.

Nicole's most telling sign was while walking through a thrift store, she spotted a copy of the book titled, "The Poppy Lady" lying on the floor directly in front of her. It's about Moina Belle Michael who almost single-handedly launched the red poppy as the World War I symbol of remembrance -- Nicole purchased it. Other serendipity events continued to occur such as stumbling into sources providing all the necessary supplies needed at greatly reduced costs.

This is Nicole's second year orchestrating the poppy project where she also works closely with Patricia DeVore, the only woman on the Aurora Veterans Advisory Commission. She's the founder of Veterans Smile -- a now national non-profit assisting wounded veterans with reconstructive dental work.

With an ambitious goal of creating 100 in time for the Memorial Day parade in downtown Aurora, the students devote time before, during and after school to this project. The poppies are hand-formed in clay following a template Nicole designed where they roll out the clay, cut petals, and shape them into poppies.

Nicole takes the clay forms home to fire in her own kiln and then returns them to school for students to apply a shiny red glaze. They are placed on 3-foot metal stakes for adding to a garden. She is also finalizing how they can be personalized to either memorialize a deceased veteran or honor one currently serving in the military.


Poppies can be ordered online at: Poppy order form or use the QR code above.

The link for the Veterans Smile organization which will receive 100 percent of the poppy sale proceeds can be found here: the Veterans Smile

Purchased poppies can be picked up after the Aurora Memorial Day Parade May 27, 2024 across from the City Hall at 44 East Downers Place in Aurora.

Nicole states that the students have enthusiastically embraced this project with about 30 dedicated to working on it regularly ranging in age from 9th grade through 12th.

Please be sure to order yours today. And, in case you need a reminder about the poppy symbol, scroll down to read the heart-wrenching poem written by John McCrae, a surgeon with the Canadian Field Artillery during World War I who served during the Second Battle of Ypres in Belgium.


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