It was a school year in the making, but worth the time it took a small group of students to create a 3-D mural containing hundreds of bottle caps.
"I took bags and bags of bottle caps to the school," said Franklin Hospital Auxiliary member Mary Blondi, who served as chairperson for the partnership between the students and Franklin Hospital, the recipient of the mural.
Benton Consolidated High School's chapter of the National Art Honor Society created the mural out of the bottle caps as its community service project for the year. BCHS art teacher Amber Akes said her students
worked about 150 hours from concept to completion on the project.
FHA president Mary Ellen Aiken was very pleased with the gift. "The bottle cap mural project was a true partnership between the FHA, Mary Blondi, Amber Akes and her students, and the Benton community," Aiken said.
Akes said the project was a valuable learning experience for her students. "They learned how to work in a group setting and to listen and collaborate with one another," she said. "Many careers, such as marketing and design, require collaboration."
Akes said her students also had a hands-on experience as they learned what actually goes in to the process of designing for a client. "They also were able to work with the public," she said. "Knowing it was going to hung where people could see it got them excited about working on it."
Blondi, a retired BCHS teacher, said it was nice to be able to involve the students in a service project with the hospital, especially one that became a true community project.
"It was so nice because of the community involvement," she said. "There were people everywhere collecting bottle caps. Stark's Gym even had a receptacle." Blondi was quick to sing the praises of Akes in her direction of the students.
"Amber is so talented and creative," she said. "This project just turned out amazingly well."
Auxiliary vice president Phyllis Petty echoed those sentiments. "I was just amazed at the ability of those students," she said. "I can't say enough nice things about them."
Members of the NAHS that worked on the project include Avery Potter, Sydney Browning, Gillian Eubanks, Olivia Sapp, Fallon Davison, Litzy Mendez, Gillian Emrich, Jazmin Kallberg, Kaylee Hicks, Hannah Dawson, Maria Hampton, Brooklyn Calcaterra and Trevor Key. The group also had some help from shop teacher Robert Hagerman.
Akes said members of the NAHS must complete community service hours to keep their membership current.
"We are currently looking for a project or projects to do for the next school year," she said. "Anyone that is interested in having the students do a project that is art-based can contact me."
Petty said the committee is currently deciding where to display to mural, with several options being considered.