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A Family Affair: 3 generations enroll in same art class at APSU

To create a gray background before drawing a still-life composition, Leona Wallace takes a piece of charcoal and glides it up and down a poster taped to an easel.

Next to her, Becky Crawford does the same. Across the room, Eric Crawford positions his easel in a crowded space before beginning his project.
To create a gray background before drawing a still-life composition, Leona Wallace takes a piece of charcoal and glides it up and down a poster taped to an easel.

Next to her, Becky Crawford does the same. Across the room, Eric Crawford positions his easel in a crowded space before beginning his project.

All three are students in a Drawing I art class at Austin Peay State University. Before the start of every class, they and other students form a circle for a brief moment to sing a song accompanied on ukulele by Professor of Art Kell Black. They also discuss upcoming assignments, share stories and experiences, and tease each other — much like a family.

Leona, Becky and Eric know what family means. They are affectionately known by faculty and classmates as “the three generations” after enrolling in the same art class this fall. Leona is Becky's mother; Eric is Becky's 21-year-old son.

“It's a first for me,” Black said. “I never had three generations before. I've had mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, but never three generations.”

Becky began attending APSU full time last summer -- six years after her husband, Chief Warrant Officer Mark Crawford, was injured in a helicopter crash at Fort Rucker, Ala., that left him disabled.

“My life changed after that,” said Becky, who lives on campus with her husband and son. “The timing (to attend APSU) was right. It just felt good.”

Still undecided about a major, Becky said she plans to see her education “through to the end.”
Leona, who audited basic drawing, also was enrolled in an art appreciation course last summer with her daughter. Becky enjoyed having her mother in class so much that she enrolled her again for the fall semester.

Becky said she and her mother “always sit together and work together” in class. Her son sometimes works with them, and “sometimes I don't,” Eric said.

“The three generations” haven't decided if they will register for future classes together. Even if they don't, they serve as an example that learning is truly a family affair. — Melony Leazer