Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tile After Tile

If you've ever visited my class at Westbury Christian School, you know I like a colorful, looks-like-it's-lived-in-room. Covering one wall, we have a mural painted over several years by our AP art class chronicling events in the life of Jesus. On the opposite wall, I always display art work by my students. (Currently, my teacher's aide, Kaitlyn in updating the wall from 110 Coat Of Arms to 110 Fruits of the Spirit.) Several years ago, I read an article on the website of my hometown newspaper in Nebraska how the art teacher at my alma mater (York High) had her students paint ceiling tiles as a project. These tiles were then displayed all over town in various businesses. Almost every building, including WCS, uses these interchangeable tiles in their ceilings. I thought it would be a great addition to my classroom. Paul Arnold, our facilities director, was gracious enough to offer tiles if I could find an artist. I did. 

Katherine Elizabeth Harper is an extremely talented freshman at Westbury Christian. Her mother is our elementary art instructor and her younger sister, fourth grader Margaret, daily critiques my wardrobe. 
(To read my story about Margaret, please copy and paste my entry at
 Last Spring as an eighth grader, Katherine took me up on my challenge to paint a tile for Room 258. She chose a rendition of The Last Supper. She discovered that painting tiles is no easy task as the material is rough, absorbent, and must be coated with a sealing substance at the outset. Katherine, a perfectionist, persevered and brought me the finished product shortly before Christmas. We have it installed and it instantly became a conversation starter. Not content to rest on her laurels, Katherine has taken another tile. She has several ideas in mind and she is thinking long term. In fact, Katherine told me her goal is to paint every tile in my room by the time of her graduation in May of 2015. They won't all be as intricate as her first masterpiece but she has a plan and that plan includes roughly seventy ceiling tiles. I have made countless mistakes in my career but I've learned this over the years as a teacher and coach: 
Stay out of the way of young people with a vision.
I don't know if the Lord put it one her heart to have this magnificent obsession but I do know Katherine's gift can be used to help me better teach the Scriptures to hundreds of teenagers who need the learn the story of Jesus Christ. Kids learn better when they visualize and that is where Katherine has interjected herself into my telling of the life of Christ. You know, you don't have to have a passport to embark on a mission.

Applicable quote of the day:"Vision is the art of seeing the invisible." 
 Jonathan Swift

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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