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St. Joseph art students help Ukraine relief by creating, selling hand-made ceramic crosses

St. Joseph Catholic School is doing its part to help war-torn Ukraine: The Fine Arts Department is selling student-created, hand-crafted ceramic crosses decorated in honor of the Eastern European nation.

The crosses, some painted with Ukraine’s colors and others with Ukraine spelled down the cross, sell for $5 for small ones and $10 for large ones. All money raised will go to the Catholic Diocese of Jackson’s relief efforts for Ukraine.

“When I first learned that Russia invaded Ukraine and then saw what Ukrainians are going through, I just felt we needed to do something,” said Lou Ann Turner, an art and ceramics teacher at St. Joe. “This was the first thing that came to mind: beautiful, hand-made crosses.”

The crosses are made, painted and decorated by students in Turner’s pottery class. They are being sold through word-of-mouth and also are featured for sale at Joesy’s, the St. Joe art store that sells student art and is open by appointment.

Art and pottery are two of several elective courses St. Joseph Catholic School students can take each year. Other Fine Arts electives include choir, band, piano and theater; non-Fine Arts electives include engineering, broadcast journalism and print journalism.

St. Joseph Catholic School, founded in 1870 by the Sisters of Mercy, offers seventh- through 12th-grade students a rigorous college prep curriculum grounded in the teachings of the Catholic Church. The school recently celebrated its 150th anniversary.

St. Joe, 308 New Mannsdale Road in Madison, just west of the Interstate 55-Mississippi 463 interchange, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the accrediting arm of Cognia.

Dr. Dena Kinsey, principal of St. Joe, and Vicki Runnels, chair of Fine Arts, said they were pleased to see Turner and her students use their artistic talents to help the Ukrainian people. it’s one example of how St. Joe students try to help anyone in need.

“These crosses are beautiful,” Kinsey said. “I am so proud of our students and our Fine Arts Department. These crosses are a wonderful way for people to honor the victims of brutal aggression while appreciating the artistic talents of St. Joe students.”

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Here is how you can purchase student-made crosses to help the residents of Ukraine.

THE CROSSES: Student-created, hand-decorated, ceramic crosses that honor Ukraine and its citizens in the wake of Russia’s invasion of the Eastern European nation.

STUDENT WORK: The crosses are created and decorated by students in Lou Ann Turner’s pottery class at St. Joseph Catholic School.

PURCHASE PRICE: Crosses, which cost $5 and $10 each, are sold through word-of-mouth and at Joesy’s, the school’s art store that sells student art.

RELIEF EFFORTS: All money raised from the sale of the crosses will go to the Catholic Diocese of Jackson’s relief efforts for Ukraine.

CONTACT: To buy a cross or for more information, contact Fine Arts Chair Vicki Runnels at


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