Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My mom!

My mom is in the paper!

I'm really proud of her! =)

BP grant fuels the creation of water fountains at PHS
PORTAGE | There won't be water in Kristin Clem's elaborate white clay fountain for at least a few weeks, but when it starts to trickle down the fountain's five tiers, it'll be doing it through natural energy.

The Portage High School senior and her upper-level ceramics classmates are creating tabletop fountains that will run with solar-powered pumps. Paula Wiese, their teacher, received a $10,000 grant for the project through BP's A+ for Energy program, which helps teachers fund projects promoting energy education and conservation in the classroom.

Combining knowledge of other academic areas to their artwork, Wiese said students had to study biomes, natural groupings of plants and animals found in a geographically-specific area, to give their fountains a sense of realism.

Senior Alyssa Mayerik, who plans on studying interior design after high school, said some of what she learned in the art department's jewelry making class also will come in handy when she welds copper pipes to get water flowing through her fountain.

"I've taken every art class possible. It all helps," she said.

Wiese said she hopes to continue the project with students next year. She submitted a sustainability proposal for the grant and hopes to know if it's been approved before the end of the school year. If it gets the green light, it'll expand to include solar-powered garden lanterns.

"We'll have to design them. They're a little different because you have to have a stored energy source," Wiese said.

Students have a little more than a week left before spring break, when the fountains will dry and be ready for testing. Water hopefully will flow down from the top of senior Dillon Albee's white clay Zen fountain, which has a relief of Buddha and a tree. Albee said using the white clay, which is gray before it dries, will help add color to his creation.

"When it's finished it turns white. You paint over that," Albee said. "White is usually better for making your paint stick out, where red's basically more natural looking."

Senior Craig Summers chose to design his red clay fountain using clean lines and smooth surfaces. When finished, water should flow down its prairie school-style tiers.

"Artists are original design people," Wiese said. "Every one of them is different."

Aside from designing the fountains, there are other challenges students face. Their classroom is in an interior section of the school, so they'll have to move elsewhere to get them going.

When the fountains are completed, Wiese will report to BP on the program's success, and students will have their projects on display in the school before taking them home.

1 comment:

Ray said...


Tell your mom Congrats.

I also love BP, they gave me 15,000 towards my college education from a scholarship that I won my senior year.