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Glen Rock Mom Preserves Son's Memory With Workshops At Paterson School

Suzanne Andora Barron with students from last year's workshops at School 21 in Paterson. Photo Credit: Jodi Crandell Photography
Suzanne Andora Barron with her son, Christopher, when he was eight. Photo Credit: Submitted
Christopher Barron was a huge Mets fan. Photo Credit: Submitted

GLEN ROCK, N.J. -- Thanks to a Glen Rock mom, fifth-graders at School 21 in Paterson are getting a break from their regular coursework to learn about comic books.

Suzanne Andora Barron, president of the Christopher Barron Live Life Foundation , which she founded in 2009 in honor of her 9-year-old son who died from leukemia in 2007, is all about sharing the passion Christopher had for "the funnies." Starting Wednesday, Jan. 13, students will spend one hour a week with Alex Simmons, a professional comic book writer who's written for Archie, DC Comics, and more. Simmons will teach the kids how to create an original character, develop a plot, thumbnail sketch, pencil, ink, letter and color their comics.

The eight week program, which culminates in an art show for the families, also includes a "meet and greet" with professional illustrators who the Foundation brings in. The group then publishes the children's work in an anthology. This is the seventh year the Foundation has done this and each year, Andora Barron says it continues to delight her.

"Last year, we donated a comic book library called Christopher's Comic Corner to the school's library filled with age appropriate graphic novels," said Andora Barron. She said Christopher loved comics, particularly Spider-Man and Captain Underpants, and created his own series, the Adventures of Ultimate Man, which he sold on their front lawn.

"Christopher's Comic Book Inspirations " writing workshops have been in existence for six years, ever since Regina Rear-Connor, the Vice President of the Foundation, suggested the two women propose the idea to the school's principal. The rest is more or less history. Christopher attended Coleman Elementary School in Glen Rock but the two women chose the Paterson school for its proximity to their Glen Rock homes and to the fact that the school services less fortunate kids.

"Despite my son's illness, he had a lot of hope and opportunities that a lot of kids don't have," said Andora Barron. "We wanted to share some of those opportunities with underserved kids. Aside from offering the children some fun, the workshops teach the kids to believe in themselves and the power of their imaginations."

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