Truckee High unveils new student-made sculpture | SierraSun.com

Truckee High unveils new student-made sculpture

Submitted to the Sierra Sun

Tahoe Truckee Unified School District hosted a Career Technical Education and STEAM Showcase last week in the new West Wing at Truckee High.

The Showcase was a celebration of student work in their new state of the art facility. The West Wing houses manufacturing, engineering, art, Biotechnbology and other CTE classes. Truckee High students had their work on display from the first semester at this event.

The event kicked off with an unveiling of a new metal sculpture designed and created by seven students from around the district. This work is part of the innovative environmental education that takes place throughout the district due to its collaboration with Sierra Watershed Educational Partnerships, officials said.

Missy Mohler, SWEP's executive director and district alumnus, led the collaborative project. Truckee High alumni and parent Matt Parkhurst was instrumental in designing the overall sculpture for this project.

The sculpture design includes the mountain range watershed that is the backdrop of Truckee High. Students designed and created the intricate "fish" and "trees" in the sculpture and welded them at the Truckee Roundhouse. This project was funded from Drought Response Outreach Projects for Schools.

Creating the Sculpture

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Noelle Seppi, a Truckee High School senior, shared her experience in creating the sculpture now on display.

"My first time welding was a rollercoaster of emotions: excitement, fear, and everything in between," Seppi wrote in an essay. "The sole reason for this welding program, I thought, was to make a sculpture that the students and staff of Truckee High School could enjoy for years to come.

"Little did I know that there was so much more depth to this project.

"Our project team was at the Truckee Roundhouse and our instructors directed us to retrieve our safety goggles, welding helmets, and gloves for proper protection. We started the session with welding across a scrap piece of metal so we could get used to the motion and the feel of the welding tool. I watched others begin, trying to get used to the constant sparks flying towards my face. I sat in silence and the longer I watched from a distance, the more my fear grew.

"Eventually, our instructor looked at me and said, 'You're up!' He handed me a tool, explained to me what I was supposed to do, and stepped back to watch. I took a deep breath, put my helmet down, and started. After the welding gun reached the other side of the small metal scrap, I set down the tool and lifted my helmet to see the result.

"'Not bad,' said our instructor. I looked up and smiled at everyone, and from that moment I was hooked.

"As the session came to a close, we put away our equipment, said our goodbyes, and walked out of the Truckee Roundhouse. While driving home, I realized that this project is much more than making a new high school look better; this project is making a positive impact on our community and our environment.

"It brought together a group of random strangers to create something that allows the public to be aware of how their actions affect the environment around us. With our plan of having the sculpture speak to the audience, we hope that the message of preserving the environment and protecting the watershed for future generations is communicated."