MANY OF US are thinking ahead to the holidays, and we're rushing around getting our homes and spirits ready for the celebrations. The recent snowfalls have helped to spur the mood.
Ten fourth- and fifth-grade students at Elmer Wolfe Elementary School are looking even further into the future -- to the courtyard that's being planned for the new Elmer Wolfe school when that building is constructed several years from now.
Why the interest in such a long-term project? The students are members of an after-school sculpture club, and they are meeting Mondays this fall to design the sculptures that will be an integral part of the courtyard.
There are some remarkable things about this group. These kids won't even attend the new school when it's ready for occupancy -- they'll be well into middle school by then. The construction of the project is far into the future. And they're spending precious after-school time on something constructive when they could be playing.
So why are they doing it? I visited the group on a recent rainy Monday. As they worked in the art room at Elmer Wolfe, protected by oversized shirts and up to their elbows in clay, three groups of students worked together and concentrated on executing a design concept.
Timmy Owings was making a keyhole out of clay, in an attempt to portray a "key to learning." He was working with friends Schuyler Free, Brian Johnson and Lynn Raab.
Eric Alban, Emily Bertier and Joe Reilly, in another group, tried their hands at executing an even more abstract concept. "Relationships" translated into a three-dimensional heart, hand and rainbow.
Greg Mastalerz's group was illustrating "Jobs for the Future." As they etched symbols for various occupations in a slab of clay, they told me why they were in the sculpture club.
"It's fun, and I like working in clay," said Carey Green. Calli White participates because she likes to work with others. And Greg said, "It's a good use of my time."
tTC The club meets for six weeks this fall to plan the designs; it will meet again in the spring to make the first of three sculptures a reality, according to the group's adviser, Union Bridge artist Jo Israelson.
Ms. Israelson has been teaching the students about art and sculpture through slides, and encouraging them to keep a sculpture journal as they develop ideas. She's volunteering her time, energy and talent to the project.
"This is about team learning, collaboration, and working together, and that fits my philosophy," she said. "The original plan is to have three sculptures created over a three-year period, so each graduating class from Elmer Wolfe will have a legacy at the new school."
The students in the sculpture club are the design and fabrication team; other students will have input on what is produced.
"The kids are great," says Ms. Israelson. "I love watching the kids value each other's contributions. And there is a certain natural aesthetic that kids have -- they can make decisions about what they want to do and not anguish about it. They are willing to try anything."
Have breakfast out
Don't forget the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at the Fireman's Building on the carnival grounds in Taneytown. The breakfast starts as early as 5 a.m. Saturday and food is served until 11:30 a.m.
Cost is $4.50 for adults, $2.50 for children ages 6 to 12.
Proceeds benefit the Taneytown Lions' projects.
Judy Reilly's Northwest Carroll neighborhood column appears each Thursday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.