Loudoun County, Va. (September 27, 2014) – A $5,000 Hugh McKee Grant from the Loudoun Education Foundation (LEF) has led to an impressive permanent art display at Harmony Middle School.
Students and staff gathered on Wednesday, September 17, to dedicate four stained-glass windows depicting the history of the site Harmony stands on.
The art project was used as a history lesson to depict Harmony “back in time.”
The sixth grade was tasked with depicting Harmony’s location as it would have appeared during the Civil War. Seventh-graders depicted what Harmony’s site looked like during the 20th century and eighth-graders depicted what the land looked like just before Harmony was constructed.
The fourth panel was the subject of a school-wide competition; how Harmony Middle School appears today.
Art teacher Lori DeMark said more than 500 designs were considered before the finalists were chosen.
The four students who submitted winning designs included:
- Camryn Dolby (eighth grade)
- Maryam Khan (sixth grade)
- Sarah Jane Nielsen (seventh grade)
- Felice Parrish (seventh grade)
Staff present for the dedication included DeMark, art teacher Brenda Dowdy, former Harmony art teacher Kayla McCormick (who now teaches at Park View High School) and Jennifer Pelton, an in-school resource teacher who was the main artisan on the window. (Ron Fabin, the Fine Arts Department chair at Heritage High School, served as a consultant for the project.)
Completing the artworks took most of the 2013-14 school year and involved far more than the creation of the windows, which cost about $1,900.
The balance of the grant went to fund activities such as Civil War Days for the sixth grade. This event incorporated science (investigating medical practices and diseases common during that time) and math (calculating the casualties of Pickett’s Charge) along with history. Re-enactors, artisans and musicians stopped in to give students the sights, sounds and wares of the Civil War.
The seventh grade studied how the 20th century’s two world wars shaped many aspects of life – social, political, intellectual, technological and economic – using special resources and activities.
Eighth-grade academic teams used grant funds to explore a decade between the 1960’s and 1990’s in depth.
Before his death on April 27, 2014, Hugh McKee gave $57,000 to the Loudoun Education Foundation to support 14 grants in Loudoun County middle schools. The focus of these grants was interdisciplinary, creative learning.
A retired Air Force major, McKee was a veteran of the Vietnam War and one of the first resident of the Falcons Landing retirement community.