It took Angie Grass and 400 students nearly two months to create the artwork for the Academy District 20 50th anniversary gala.
While the work illuminated the gala for its 400 guests, Grass’s efforts won a lasting award: the Unique Project Award from ABE.
She was nominated by Kathleen Shiverdecker, assistant middle school principal at Discovery Canyon.
The artwork she created left a definite impression in the minds of the guests — and her students — as she worked with the theme of leading, growing and working together.
The art teacher at Discovery Canyon — one of District 20s newest campuses — created 4-foot-high cairns filled with 14 rocks.
“The cairns are used to light the way, lead travelers down the path,” Grass said. “So the cairns represented the staff, the teachers in District 20 who are leading the children toward their future. The 14 rocks symbolized the 14 years students are educated in the district.”
But the cairns were only the first step. Students also created 50 Japanese carp for the event, representing the colors and size of each of the 50 schools in District 20.
“Carp are known for working together, helping each other out,” Grass said. “And so the carp are a symbol of how our students work together for the greater goals.”
Finally, Grass continued the theme with the centerpieces. Illuminated fish bowls with votive candles and live fish were placed on each table.
“The fish continued the carp theme — they were the students,” she said. “And the candles were teachers: ‘illuminating’ the way for the students. They were set on mirror bases with polished rocks that represented the finished product — the successful path of each student.”
Pulling the art work together took months, but Grass gives the credit to the students, and to the Discovery Canyon administration. Her job, she said, was just to make sure that the artwork met standards for the district.