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Fairview students sing

Students in Judy Sorels’ classes at Fairview Junior High School have been working for weeks on a flag made of red, white and blue tiles.  From left: Shirley Diaz, Daniella Germain, Hillary McClain and Jessica Hart take a close look at their flag. - Photo by Rogerick Anas
Students in Judy Sorels’ classes at Fairview Junior High School have been working for weeks on a flag made of red, white and blue tiles. From left: Shirley Diaz, Daniella Germain, Hillary McClain and Jessica Hart take a close look at their flag.
— image credit: Photo by Rogerick Anas

Monuments are being built, large and small, all over the country, to memorialize the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Judy Sorels’ eighth- and ninth-graders just finished their monument.

“Two classes worked on it,” said Sorels, art teacher for Fairview Junior High. A total of 52 students. “We’re still glazing tiles,” she said in an interview last week.

The monument, now finished, is a full-sized American Flag made of ceramic tiles — each about the size of a person’s hand. Most tiles have little messages on them to commemorate the event.

Students plan to “hang” the flag, mounted on a large, framed piece of wood, in the hallway of the school.

“We’ve told the kids how people ran into the buildings to help others — with no thought to their own safety,” said Sorels.

Ironically, some of the tiles came out of the kiln charred.

“At first, I thought we’d better throw them out and make new ones,” said the art teacher. “But then, I thought, being charred was quite appropriate ... so we left them in. In art, things happen accidently that are often very appropriate.”

Second-period and fourth-period eighth- and ninth-graders worked on the project. Sorels teaches art to all grades at the school, 7-9.

The flag has been dressed up with ceramic overlays of one big star depicting the Twin Towers of the Trade Center in New York; a smaller, five-pointed star representing the Pentagon, which was seriously damaged in the attack; and an another star representing “The Heartland of America,” she said.

It took a lot of Liquid Nails and caulking compound to affix tiles to the board, she said. The creation ended up very heavy. It’ll be a challenge to mount it on the wall, she said.

Annie park, 15, ninth-grader, said “I did the first tile in the corner — the blue one in the top row.” She inscribed her tile with the United States’ motto, “In God We Trust.”

Kerina Weinbach, 15, eighth-grade, said “I put the word ‘courage’ on my tile. I wanted people to remember to go and help others, no matter what.”

Sorels has been a teacher for five years. She was born in Missouri and raised in Illinois. She moved here when her husband landed a job at Keyport. The couple has two children, a 17-year-old daughter and 14-year-old son.

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