Local students using art to help support cancer patients


Nadia Scalzo

Coppell High School senior Ruqiya Bankole displays her acrylic painting called “Illuminate”. Bankole sells artwork she has made as well as artwork donated by students and teachers to sell at festivals for “Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation” in order to help children battling cancer.

Sofia Guerrero, Staff Writer

Lanterns were thrown into the air by people who travelled to the Shine Festival near Denton, and people enjoyed lemonade and art. This was Coppell High School senior Ruqiya Bankole’s view on Oct. 7 as she and two friends, CHS seniors Mateo Perez and Grace Kompany, held an art exhibit and sold lemonade at the festival.


Her purpose for attending the festival was to raise money for cancer treatments.


“It started out as a Community, Action and Service (CAS) project (a requirement for the International Baccalaureate diploma) because I’m an IB student,” Bankole said. “We needed to take a leadership role and do a service to help the community. I decided on selling artwork and lemonade to people to raise money for children with cancer.”


She first contacted Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF), a foundation that sells lemonade to raise money for cancer treatments, and asked it to allow her to sell her art. The foundation agreed to assist her and she was then able to go to festivals and raise money through the art and lemonade.


Bankole and fellow IB student, Perez, participated in the CAS project through the exhibit.


Both Bankole and Perez were inspired by the opportunity to raise money for cancer. Knowing cancer treatments are expensive, they wanted to contribute to this important cause.


“Cancer needs more words,” Perez said. “People already know about cancer but the actual research part of it needs more words.”


Bankole’s friend, Kompany, assisted as well, but for different reasons.


“I thought an opportunity to get NHS hours is great, but I also wanted to kickstart my own organization,” Kompany said. “I need to know how to do that through doing these community services so I can get my organization up and running.”


Kompany’s organization is called CongoEd and its focus is supplying Congolese children in privately funded schools with school supplies such as backpacks, pencils, pens and others.


Bankole contacted the Shine Festival and it allowed all three of them to be a vendor. Her plan was to set up at the event and get people to buy art and lemonade.


“We set up the art and lemonade stand there,” Bankole said. “We had a few brochures that the [ALSF] sent us.”


The ALSF also provided some infographics that allowed people to see what their project was about.


During the festival, they passed out brochures to people and let them know about their cause.

They made $150 in sales, and are going to use that money for their next fundraiser, which will take place in the next two weeks. They are then planning on sending the money they earn there to ALSF.


Through selling art and lemonade, they learned that helping an important cause, like cancer, can be both fun and very rewarding.


Follow Sofía on Twitter at @sofia_i_g