On Oct. 18, proud fourth-graders at Errick Road Elementary unveiled their first outdoor sculpture titled "Vertebrate Spines."
Art teacher Tracy Bloom said the five large spine structures represent the five categories of vertebrate that the students learned about in third-grade science the previous year: mammals, amphibians, fish, reptiles and birds.
"Each spine holds 20 carved animals from each of the vertebrate categories. From far away each sculpture looks like a spine, but as the viewer comes closer they will see the "bones" of the spine are really animals the students carved," Bloom said.
The students carved the animals out of blocks of clay last year and they were allowed to dry over the summer. When they returned to school this year, they fired them in the kiln and then glazed them. They then assembled them onto long steel pipes, getting it ready for their big moment.
"The mood of the unveiling was highly celebratory," said Bloom. "We had the sculpture hidden under sheets with clothespins. It was very tall, even taller than some of the adults in attendance."
Seventeen students spoke to the crowd about the sculpture and how it was made. The remaining students unveiled the piece with the help of a drum roll from high school student Jacob Blackenship. Excitement filled the air as students basked in the applause and admired their masterpiece and the plaque with their names on it.
"The unveiling brought to the evening a true sense of ownership. They worked well as a group to make all of the pieces and assemble it for the Errick Road community to enjoy," said Bloom. "Seeing the smiles on their faces said it all. They are happy that they have left their mark on their school and that their work will be in the courtyard forever."