Celebrate 60: Bird Rock Elementary honors staff with legacy mosaic bench


By Jane Wheeler

As part of the bird rock elementary 60 year celebration, kindergarten teacher Lorene Lacava and artist Jane Wheeler teamed up to create a 12-foot mosaic bench honoring the teachers and staff who have dedicat- ed their careers to the school.

The project was funded by the sales of some 550 copies of the bird rock communi- ty council cookbook and creates a legacy expressing the symbiotic relationship between community and school that has de- veloped over the years. Located in the center of the bench is the quote “bird rock elementary School celebrating 60 years of ex- cellence in education and community building, 1951-2011.”

Lacava came up with the idea after watching a show on Oprah’s 50th. Oprah felt it was important to name the names of those who came before her and who made it pos- sible for her to succeed (ie. all successful black women like maya Angelou, Diana ross, etc.) This inspired Lacava to visualize a close-up view of the legacy mosaic bench a beautification project that would name the names of those who committed themselves to teaching the neighborhood’s children over the past 60 years.

The bench features individual stamped tiles honoring of all the past principals as well as current and retired teachers who have taught at the school for more than 10 years. bird rock teachers helped create the fused glass border of the bench and Lorene La cava spent hours researching all of the dates and names of those named.

One interesting tile belongs to teacher Judy Hays who taught at bird rock for 40 years. Also, several bird rock elementary current and alumni moms helped with the grouting of the bench: Margaret Ohara, Cathy riley, Stacey Haerr, Sarah Feeney, Delphine Ferenczy and Jane Wheeler.

As part of the yearlong celebration, La cava is creating a birthday book filled with stories and fond memories of the school. To learn more or be included, email Lacava atl-