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Community Totem Pole Dedicated

During the 2017-2018 school year, Poplin students created ceramic pieces for a Community Totem Pole.  This is the first outdoor sculpture for the front area of our school. Thanks to a Arts in Schools Grant from the Union County Community Arts Council and proceeds from our annual Square 1 Art fundraiser, we were able to purchase the ceramic equipment necessary to complete the project.

The concept of the piece was to create a totem pole, as a representation of our school community, just as a Native American totem would represent the culture and characteristics of the people. We worked as a team, a community within the school, throughout all stages of the process. Students across all grade levels helped with various aspects of the project.  

The Poplin Art Club, made up of a group of 5th graders who met frequently after school, was responsible for the initial planning and production of several pieces, including the lantern which sits at the top of the piece. In art class students brainstormed various aspects of our community, including our local and extended geographical community, as well as the characteristics of a good community member.  The ideas generated in class were used to help plan the project.

The pieces were decorated and glazed by students and community members and completed shortly after the end of last school year. Once the pieces were completed Shannon Helms, Poplin’s Art Teacher, worked with UCPS Maintenance staff to work out the installation.  Staff constructed a base and support structure to complete the process. We are very thankful for the hard work and creativity of all involved.

The Community Totem Pole was dedicated during a reception on Saturday, November 17, 2018.  Students now in sixth grade at Porter Ridge Middle School and current Poplin students who worked on the project were invited along with their families to attend an unveiling of the project.  Students loved unveiling their hard work and creativity.  Each of the student's names were engraved into the Totem Pole.  During the dedication Mrs. Helms said, “I feel that it truly represents our community, not only in subject and sentiment, but also in the process.”