Thursday, 5 December 2013

Stained Glass Angels for Sand Bags

In the spring of 2011 our young people spent quite a bit of time volunteering their time to help with flood relief.  Often they would just pile into a vehicle and cruise around our neighbourhood to see who needed help and pitch in.  One day some of our Diene drove around with Joe, our field boss,  They happened upon a small farm just five miles west of us.  You would think since Elm River has been in existence for almost 80 years we would know everyone in our area.  Well... perhaps we do know most of our neighbours, but sometimes we just don't know where they live.  That was the case in this incident.  When the girls and Joe walked up to the farm owners and asked if they needed assistance,  "Yes!  How did you know I need help?"  the lady exclaimed.  They proceeded to tell her that they didn't know, they were merely offering their services to anyone in the area.  Sonia, my sister, felt the lady looked familiar and the way she spoke also  gave her the impression that she knew our people.  As they piled sand bags alongside her, Sonia discovered that the "lady" was former Brennan School art teacher, Leta Owens.

Since that spring day two years ago I've spoken with Leta several times and at each visit she mentioned that she'd like to do something for our community to show her appreciation.  I kept assuring her that payment wasn't necessary, that our people were just pleased to help out.  Leta was not to be dissuaded.  During our last visit, Leta offered to do a workshop with our student, to teach them how to make stained glass angels.  Not only did she volunteer her time, but also all of the materials, equipment and supplies needed for the project! 

This past Wednesday she spent the day here at Brennan School.  All of our kindergarten to grade seven students had a session with her.  Some of the older students learned how to solder, others wrapped lead around individual pieces of glass, still others manned the grinder, to smoothed away rough edges.  Our youngest students pitched in by lovingly washing and polishing each angels as it was completed.  Together we created almost three dozen angels!

The following day my grades 1 & 3 class slipped each stained glass angel into a zip-lock bag together with an angel gift tag and suction cup for hanging it in a special window. As we packed the angels, my students discussed the colours of the angels, admiring them as they held they held them up to the light.
This then lead into a math class.  We sorted the angels according to their colours and graphed the results.

The data told us that:
  • Red was the most popular angel colour.
  • Light green was the least popular colour.
  • We have 2 each of light blue, dark purple, orange, dark green and purple angels.
  • We have fewer light blue angels than pink ones.
  • We have more dark blue angels than clear ones.
  • All the angels are beautiful!
On the last day of school we will bundle up and hand deliver an angel to each family on our colony.  A Christmas gift not only from the students and staff at Brennan School, but from our stained glass angel instructor, Leta Owens.

Transforming sand into glass is a long, intricate process that takes time, skill and technology.  Who knew that in the span of two years sand bags could turn into stained glass angels!

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