(Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON)

ST. CLOUD - Students from Apollo, Tech, Becker, and Foley High Schools recently took part in Chalk Talk, a one day workshop with Twin Cities artist Wing Young Huie. Becker High School students talked about their experiences with the program.

Max Hemminger participated in the last two years of Chalk Talk.

"We come together because we are all interested in art and photography. We get to discuss personal things and learn things about new people that we really wouldn't have the chance to do in our normal lives," says Hemminger.

Chalk Talk works with students from diverse backgrounds to address social issues, as as helping students get to know each other. Gavin Jenkins and Tori Renter say it was an opportunity to meet new people while being themselves.

"When I walk past somebody I never met before, I usually just ignore them, don't even say hi. Now that I met people that I've never met before it's easier for me to talk to people," says Jenkins.

Renter says, "It was really cool. It was one of the first places where I felt completely accepted as myself, and also I met a lot of different people that I wouldn't have met otherwise." 

Diversity was the lesson of the day. Jacob Friendshuh says that's important.

"Not everyone is the same, that's kind of what's important. We all need to be different to make it beautiful," says Friendshuh, "Someone told me that America is like a salad, you've got to have all the pieces for it to taste good." 

Carly Pruszinske says she learned a lot about other peoples backgrounds.

"Whether that's a different sexuality, orientation, or race. I learned a lot about how to interact with those people, and I learned a lot about how we are all one," says Pruzinske.

Hemminger says, "It's an educational experience to because if you don't know about a lot other cultures, or maybe identities, or sexualities; you get to learn about that through someone's actual point of view and not just an article you read online."

The artwork from students from all four high schools are on display at the St. Cloud Public Library. There will be a reception with the students next Wednesday, May 13th from 6:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m. This Chalk Talk Art Display will be up until Saturday, May 16th. Below is a video of the students explaining their photo.