||Pictured from left: Emily Inman, Ellie Huff, and Riley Crane, eighth graders at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary School in Sun Prairie, display their mosaics. To view or purchase photos, go to madisoncatholicherald.smugmug.com (Catholic Herald photos/Kevin Wondrash)
SUN PRAIRIE -- Students and teachers at Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary School in Sun Prairie are remembering a former teacher by displaying new work of art and learning more about art in the process.
Former Sacred Hearts art teacher Mrs. Mary Humphrey died this past September after a 15-year battle with cancer.
Mrs. Humphrey taught at the school from the early 1990s to the early 2000s.
Her family requested memorials go to Sacred Hearts' art program. They did -- in a big way -- totaling more than $2,000.
The school had to decide what to do with the money.
"We didn't want to just buy some supplies," said Jill Conaway, associate principal.
Bringing in a local artist
Conaway suggested bringing in local artist Denny Berkery of The Vinery Glass Studio in Madison to be an artist in residence for a week at the school.
Berkery would help the school's more than 300 students -- in grades kindergarten through eight -- each make an 8 x 8 mosaic as well as a large mosaic to be placed on permanent display in the school.
"[The students] get to cut them, they get to arrange them, and do their own designs," said Conaway.
"The kids have been incredibly engaged," she added. "It was something where a lot of them were sitting down thinking 'I'm never going to be able to do this, and once they started working with the tiles, they were so engaged."
"I liked to design it," said eighth grader Emily Inman, "putting it together was probably my favorite part because then you can choose all the different pieces and cut the pieces and you see your plan come to life."
"I've learned that you really need to take your time when making mosaics," said eighth grader Riley Crane. "It's a lot of different pieces and it's like putting a puzzle together and you need the right pieces to make your finished project what you want."
The students contribute
For the larger mosaic for the school, students submitted ideas and designs.
Conaway said many of the ideas had the same symbols of faith and what Sacred Hearts means to the students as well paintbrushes in honor of Mrs. Humphrey.
"We took a lot of those common symbols and we made it into one design with a red and white border which are our school colors," said Conaway.
Members of Mrs. Humphrey's family came to help the students and see the designs.
"That was really cool to have them help with the kids," said Conaway. "They were really touched at the idea of us doing this in memory of Mary."
The students got to keep their own mosaics they worked on.
Some teachers and staff also got in on the experience and made their own mosaics once they saw how much the students liked working on them.
"I'll [always] remember how much fun I had making it and how cool all of them are," said eighth grader Ellie Huff. "It's a different perspective on art and what people can really do."
"It's been a really good bonding activity," said Crane, "because you see everyone's different art skills, help each other out, and give your thoughts on what they're making . . . then you really bond and realize how this is bringing [us] together even more."
No better way to honor Mrs. Humphrey.