Saturday, November 24, 2007

Cathedrals spark students' creativity

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

'It is wise to learn; it is God-like to create.' - John Saxe, 19th century U.S. poet
If it's God-like to create, then the halls of St. Mary's School are divine.
The cathedrals that decorate them are the proof, for they were borne from the imaginations of its students.
Carla Hahn Clardy's eighth-grade students had two weeks to create their own versions of a Gothic cathedral.
All of them had to feature the traditional elements of a cathedral, including the nave, transept, altar, flying buttresses and spires.
Some of the final products are factual, and some are mythical, but all were unique.
'All of them are so different,' Ms. Clardy said. 'I've assigned this project for years. Some of them might use the same supplies, but they all look different.'
The project's instructions, in fact, encouraged creativity.
'Strive for beauty and creativity,' Ms. Clardy wrote on her direction sheet. 'The ultimate goal is to glorify God with your construction, as that was the intent of the original medieval architects and builders.'
The students were free to choose their own supplies for the project.
One of the finished cathedrals sparkled with brightly colored glitter. It belonged to partners Nevia Lopez and Alexandra Bigon, both 13.
'We wanted it to be like us,' Miss Lopez said. 'So we added a lot of color and cuteness.'
The pair said they spent 17 hours working on it.
William Linz used gray paint on Styrofoam to make his cathedral appear as if it were made of stone. The 12-year-old boy also managed to integrate his mother's hobby into his project.
'When we lived in Ohio, my mom was a stained glass photographer,' Linz said, pointing at the stained-glass decals on his cathedral. 'These are from old photos.'
Linz spent 13 hours on his project.
One very edible cathedral owes its creation to two 14-year-old boys named Jacob Deheim and Luke Villamaria.
The spires were made of ice cream cones, the panels looked a lot like graham crackers and the stones were Skittles. Bone-shaped hard candies were piled inside the tomb-like reliquary, the container for remains of the cathedral's saint.
'You could eat the gargoyles too,' Deheim said. 'If it wasn't for the glue.'
An eerie occurrence prompted a group of three girls to name their cathedral for St. Anthony.
'We couldn't decide between St. Lucy and St. Anthony,' said Gabriela Gonzales, 13. 'While we were talking about it, St. Anthony flashed on the caller ID on one of our cell phones.'
She and her partners, Hannah Albers, 13, and Sangheetha Kannan, 14, found the phone call a bit 'weird,' Miss Gonzales said.
'We didn't know who it was, so we didn't answer the phone,' Miss Albers said.
But it ended the debate. Victory went to St. Anthony.

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