A Gift in Motion

The woodworking studio was abuzz as Upper School students helped each other create rustic American flags. For their hand-crafted Old Glory interpretations, wood-shoppers used a variety of new tools, from saws to hand sanders, equipment made possible thanks to the Parents' Association.

At one station, Nico Gattoni '23 assisted Charles Taliano '23 as he glued wooden planks together to create the flag's stripes. Beforehand, he sawed each strip and dyed the pieces blue and red. Then he seared the wood with a torch to create an antiqued-burnt effect. Charles, who is new to the studio, felt energized by the project. "It's inspirational, making a flag," he said. "And it's a good way to bond." His helper, Nico, echoed his sentiments: "This project brought everyone together."

That's just what Fine Arts Teacher Bob Ort had in mind when he tasked his students with creating their own unique stars and stripes version. "With all the heaviness from the pandemic, I was looking for a project that would be both enjoyable and educational," he said. "I wanted the kids to focus on what unites us. The flag is a symbol of hope. Creating this project has kept everyone's spirits up."

And to make the activity even more uplifting, students used the range of new tools, including circular saws, mallets, and chisels, purchased through the Parents' Association's annual allocation fund.

"We're so appreciative of our Parents' Association for all of the new equipment," he said. "My students use them on a daily basis, and we're all benefiting from the PA's generosity." He added that earlier in the semester, students crafted and displayed around the quad multipurpose stools that included a bookshelf, a cell phone caddy, and a handle for carrying.  

Back in the studio, as Jingle Bell Rock streamed in the background, Paige Brucker '23 teamed up with Austin Carey '23 as he cut star stencils for his flag. This is Paige's first woodworking class. "I love it; it's so much fun," she said. "This project is so creative." For her work-of-art, all her wooden stripes are dyed, and next she'll secure them from the bottom, then spray paint the stars: "It's going to look so cool!"