By Chanda Temple
Special to the Times
Seven second graders from Hudson K-8 on Tuesday presented pop bottle biography art in the images of Birmingham Mayor William Bell, the Birmingham City Council and Birmingham City Schools Superintendent Dr. Kelley Castlin-Gacutan.
Creation of the art was part of an ongoing lesson in examining the role of Alabama leaders and public office, which is part of the school curriculum.
“You made me feel like a superstar,” Councilor Lashunda Scales told second grader Martina Howard after the student presented her artwork.
Under the direction of second grade teacher Patrinia Carr, students studied the City Council and their responsibilities. They also looked closely at their online group council picture to ensure that they captured the images.
The bodies were made of 2-liter soda bottles. The heads were made of round Styrofoam balls, clay-covered heads or doll heads. Students also used hair from dolls and created jewelry to give the art an authentic look. They colored the clay and Styrofoam balls to fit their models.
The clothes were made of felt, doll clothes and even baby clothes.
During Tuesday’s meeting, council members posed with students and put the figures on display on the dais.
In January and February, all second graders at Hudson K-8 learned about leadership within the school system and community. They discussed the importance of leaders and why rules are important. They researched not only famous African-American leaders but also leaders within the school system and community.
As a result, students made pop bottle biography art in the likeness of several African-American role models, including President Barack Obama, astronaut Mae Jemison and Sojourner Truth. That art remains on display at the school.
In an effort to profile local leaders, the second graders, their parents and some teachers stayed after school for a week to make the dolls in time for Tuesday. “Everyone worked really hard. They were super excited,” said Carr. “These students know our city leaders. They were saying their names as we walked into City Hall. This is their first time here.”
Principal Fred Stewart said Tuesday’s exposure was priceless for students.
“I think today allowed our students to see city government working and gave them more exposure to public office,” said Stewart. “They may even consider going into public service just by being here today.”
Carr and Stewart announced Tuesday that hosted its first art show on Wednesday, March 9 and Thursday, March 10.
The show featured work in various art forms by students in grades sixth – eighth. Proceeds from the art sale benefit the school’s art program.
“This whole effort is in line with our college and career readiness standard to expose our students to public service,” Stewart said.
Students attending Tuesday’s presentation included: Jamarion Davis, Mekhai Jones, Martha Howard, Taniya Smith, Gabreyel Faison, Ivryonna Robinson and Imani Everette.
“I liked being in front of people today and meeting the councilors,” said Jamarion. “I had fun being here and making the dolls. This demonstrates social studies.”