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Art can feed the hungry

October 23, 2005|By MARIE GILBERT

marieg@herald-mail.com

HALFWAY

When students from South Hagerstown High School accepted the challenge to participate in a sculpture contest, they knew what it would take to be competitive - creativity, teamwork and 1,000 cans of fruit, vegetables and tuna fish.

South High was one of 10 local schools that vied for the grand prize in a can sculpture contest on Saturday, sponsored by Washington County Public Schools in conjunction with Valley Mall.

The event at the mall was part of the 140th celebration of public education in the county.

"All this week, we have been showcasing our schools, and for the finale, we wanted to do something that would bring our schools together," said Carol Mowen, public information officer for Washington County Public Schools.

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Mowen said she contacted Julie Rohm, assistant general manager at Valley Mall, and together they brainstormed ideas.

"I liked the idea of can sculpture because it brought out the creativity of our students, but at the same time it would help our community," Mowen said. "All of the canned goods are being donated to Food Resources."

Mowen said all Washington County schools were invited to participate. Ten schools, ranging from the elementary to high school levels, signed on for the event.

Rohm said there was an incentive for participating in the contest.

"It was not just a competition," Rohm said. "It was also a fundraiser for the schools."

After each sculpture was completed, mall visitors could vote on their favorites by dropping 25 cents into each team's jar or can.

The mall staff kept a running tab throughout the day, Rohm said, with each 25 cents equaling one vote.

Students had one hour to complete their can sculpture and had to follow a list of general rules and guidelines.

"They could use props and wires, but they couldn't deface the cans," Mowen said.

South High's team consisted of seven members of the school's Student Government and Key Club, who gently balanced cans to build a pyramid.

"We decided on a pyramid to show how we should always strive to do our best and reach for the top," said Michelle White, a junior at South.

White said the cans for the project were collected through a schoolwide competition.

"We were really excited with the number of food items we received," White said. "It's fun representing our school, but we're also helping the hungry."

Krystyn Ferraiuolo, also a junior, said she and other team members encouraged friends and family to come out to the mall to vote for their sculpture.

"We wanted to try to get some school spirit going," she said.

Smithsburg High School's can sculpture was named "Leap of Faith" and featured an unfinished bridge.

"We wanted to do something meaningful," freshman Katelyn Grossman said. "We toyed with a lot of ideas, but we liked the bridge. It represents all of the world's problems and a bridge to better things."

North Hagerstown High School's team built a school stadium because "getting a stadium is the biggest story at our school," said Ben O'Kane, Student Government president.

North High won the grand prize of $1,000, which O'Kane said would be donated to the stadium fund.

Lincolnshire Elementary School finished in second place, with Potomac Heights Elementary School finishing third and Clear Spring High School taking fourth prize. Each of those schools earned a $100 prize.

South Hagerstown High School earned honorable mention and received a $50 prize.

Valley Mall donated the prize money, and more than $1,000 was raised for the schools that participated in the event, Mowen said.

Mowen said she is hoping the can sculpture contest will become an annual event.

"We've checked with the schools that participated today to see if there would be interest in doing this again," she said. "The feedback has been very positive."

Mowen said the event would not have run so smoothly without the leadership and support of teachers and parents.

"For students to do great things, they need adults who give of their time and lend a helping hand," Mowen said.

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