In the spring of the 2019, a grant from the Salem Fund – Clifford J. and Grace M. Taylor Fund, and support from the Willamette Art Center allowed teacher Pam Prosise to guide students through a clay sculpture project at Bush Elementary.

While fifth-graders attended Outdoor School for three days in the spring of 2019, their fourth-grade classmates spent half-days on the sculpture projects.

Inspired by a meeting with the South East Salem Neighborhood Association, students interviewed family members to identify places where their families had lived and from which they had originated. They identified symbols of those places, and the class compiled a chart. Teams were formed based on common places of family origin.

Using photographs as models, and carrying out roles within their teams, students worked from pre-made clay shapes, forming and building animals and objects. Once the sculptures were fired, students glazed each one in preparation for its second firing.

This spring, a district facilities employee expertly installed the sculpture in the foyer of Bush Elementary. Students wrote their introductory speeches, refined a poem written by Pam Prosise, and practiced their parts in preparation for a schoolwide dedication.

The early ending to school-based instruction this spring because of the coronavirus resulted in this virtual presentation, recorded in Google Meet and completed a year after the project began.