Upon graduation, most high school students are focused on leaving some sort of legacy behind. This is why they sign yearbooks, participate in senior pranks and carve their initials on bathroom stalls.
For a select few students in Lars Turin's advanced studio arts class at Mohonasen High School, their mark is more than 14 feet high in the form of a large-scale artistic installation in the high school's courtyard.
Turin said he has wanted to put some sort of artistic tribute to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in the courtyard for a while, but had never found the right group of students to make it happen.
Seniors Nick Tommasone and Joe Jasenski, along with junior Devis Cici, are the right group of students. They are currently building two, 14-foot towers on top of a 3 foot raised planting area that runs along the courtyard's far wall.
The towers are going to be covered in glass pieces reflecting light and everything around them.
Turin, who is retiring this year after teaching for nearly 20 years at Mohonasen, said it is fitting that something this monumental is happening in his last year.
This is a real tribute to the creative energy and spirit that is in our student body, Turin said, admitting that he is getting a little emotional over his retirement.
Two seniors in Turin's advanced studio art class, Allison McAllister and Danielle Everetts were also emotional about Turin's retirement.
"He is so connected to his students," Everetts said. "He is more than a teacher; he's a mentor really."
She pointed out that Turin's classroom was full of students at 9 a.m. on a day off who were just there to help and hang out.
"He would never shoot down an idea, even if it is something he thinks wouldn't work. He will spend the extra time and find a way to make it work so you'd be happy with it," McAllister said.