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Visiting Artist Program Launches at Pasadena Special Education School

12-31-2009 03:06 PM CET | Associations & Organizations

Press release from: Hillsides

Cathy Guisewite teaches student at Hillsides Education Center to create cartoon

Cathy Guisewite teaches student at Hillsides Education Center to create cartoon

(PASADENA, CA) – While visiting Hillsides Education Center, a special education school in Pasadena, Kendall and Suzana Roclord believed it would be inspiring and exciting if students could be exposed to a steady stream of people who are creative in various fields. pizZazZ at Hillsides was born. A program designed to introduce students to new visiting artists, pizZazZ was launched in December featuring Cartoonist Cathy Guisewite, known for her comic strip “Cathy.”

“pizZazZ is focused on broadening the horizons of the students, developing their creativity, and providing them with an outlet to explore the world through art,” said Jay Bechtol, director of Hillsides Education Center.

“One inspirational figure could literally change a child’s thinking and therefore his future,” said K. Roclord, owner of Roclord Studio Photography. With this in mind, the Roclords invited Guisewite to visit with the students at the special education school.

Guisewite has been named "Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year" by the National Cartoonists Society in 1993. Cathy's life in the strip naturally resembles much of her creator's life. Cathy Guisewite was a writer for an advertising company and worked her way up to vice president for W.B. Doner and Co. Advertising in 1977. Since leaving advertising and becoming a cartoonist, Cathy's work has been recognized in the form of honorary degrees and she's been mentioned in many "Who's Who" lists. She is also a member of the Hollywood Women's Political Committee.

At her pizZazZ presentation at the special education school, Guisewite discussed her art and career as a cartoonist and gave a hands-on demonstration where students had a chance to create their own cartoons about their own lives.

“Creativity is an equal opportunity provider if a person can just open himself up to it,” said K. Roclord. “By letting the children meet and interact with a diverse group of creative people, hopefully they will start to explore their own creative paths.”

Ideally, students that may be struggling in academic areas would develop new found confidence in their artistic ability, said Bechtol, adding that the confidence would translate to the classroom.

“What I’m hoping is that we are able to offer our students as well-rounded an educational setting as possible. We want to be a special education school that can meet the academic, social, emotional, and creative needs for our students and give them an avenue to be successful,” said Bechtol.

To learn more about Hillsides Education Center, visit:

About Hillsides: As a Pasadena foster care charity founded in 1913, Hillsides creates safe places for children at risk and their families by providing residential care, mental health services to break the cycle of domestic violence, special education, and advocacy. To learn more about Hillsides, visit

940 Avenue 64
Pasadena, CA 91105
(323) 254-2274
Contact: Marisol Barrios
(323) 254-2274 ext. 274

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