Parents and loved ones of Alcoa Elementary students who flocked to the grounds at the Duck Pond on April 30 for an annual picnic saw how recycling can take on an artistic flair.
The adults were on campus for the annual “Lunch with a Loved One.” The event has become a tradition the Alcoa community enjoys. “This is our sixth year, and it just continues to grow,” principal Merna Schott said. “Parents and grandparents look forward to it. We’ve had grandparents plan their trips around ‘Lunch with a Loved One’ date. That puts a smile on your face.”
What was different about this year’s event was the artwork that adorned the lawn.
Schott said art teacher Becky Patterson requested students and teachers bring in plastic bottle caps from water bottle, sodas and even fabric softener lids.
“They collected a multitude of sizes and colors,” Schott said. “Becky got the idea from an Online project she had seen. She basically did one on every grade level.”
The principal said the students worked on the projects during their regular art periods.
“Various designs -- including butterflies, flowers, the U.S. flag, the world, a rainbow and a snail -- were drawn and then cut out of plywood. Students then worked together during classes to arrange and make patterns with the lids and caps, which they then glued to the shapes.
“Adults had to attach with nails and screws - over 5,000 of them,” Schott said.
Patterson said the finished shapes were placed on display on the front lawn at the school during the spring “Lunch with a Loved One.”
“It is always such a wonderful time to make contact with the community and those who don’t get to visit our school on a regular basis,” Patterson said.
The bottle cap designs will be placed in the Alcoa Elementary School’s “Katie’s Garden” for permanent display. The fenced garden area was created as a memorial for a former student, Katie Deal, who suffered from cancer in her K-2nd grade years. “It really brightens up the garden,” Schott said of the bottle cap art.
The principal said “Lunch with a Loved One” happens twice a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. It doesn’t disrupt the day but rather is done during the students’ normal 30-minute lunch period. “We invite parents, relatives and friends to have lunch with their students,” she said. “Students who don’t have a love one who can come get to eat on a blanket with their teacher, which is special too, so a child is never without someone.”