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Piecing together history

Students and staff of Minoa Elementary School unveiled a mosaic mural June 23, titled "Piecing Together History of Faces, Places and Spaces." The six-month project, funded by both a grant and the community, began in January and represents the rich history of New York state and the village of Minoa.

Two resident artists, mosaicists Jo Beth Lehrer and Susan VanHoven, partnered with the fourth-grade class that carried out the research and supplied the desired symbologies, to create the mosaic. Children in grades kindergarten through fifth, as well as staff members, helped out too.

"It's life learning in terms of working together in planning, problem-solving and creativity," said Principal Mary Ward.

In 2008, the East Syracuse-Minoa School District adopted a five-year strategic plan that will eventually be used as a teaching and learning blueprint to help guide the district through changing times. The mural, comprised of textured tiles and colorful character, complements the strategic plan in two ways, according to Superintendent Donna DeSiato.

"We believe that one of the major aspects of our strategic plan is partnerships for learning," DeSiato said. "In order to accomplish this, there are many partnerships between our community and our school district that have culminated with this beautiful mosaic."

Additionally, the strategic plan focuses on youth development as well as the development of the whole child.

"By incorporating, again, the understanding of the history of Minoa, displaying it through an artistic media, allows us to really exemplify that children learn in many ways, and they also display their learning in many ways," DeSiato said.

Ward noted the somewhat abstract mosaic highlights Minoa landmarks such as the municipal building and library as well as popular gathering grounds including Parkway Pizza and Louis Cretaro's barbershop.

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