A genuine display of patriotism

If concrete could wave like silk, it would at a homesite on Methodist Road.

In response to last week's East Coast tragedy, students in Jodi Wyatt's Hood River Middle School classes on Thursday painted a flag, measuring 26 by 50 feet, on a concrete pad.

Next month, the pad will support the home of Wyatt's grandmother, Vera Davis.

But Thursday it served as a rectangular, educational palette. The students measured the length and width of the stars and stripes and the 50 stars, and studied how they symbolize the original 13 colonies and the current 50 states. Many of the students are in both the English As Second Language and U.S. Culture classes taught by Wyatt, making it a combination math-history lesson.

She said, "They're learning a second culture as well as a second language, along with social cooperation and how to work together to make things better."

To Bernardo Zamora, "It's a way of paying respect to the people who died in the airplanes and the Twin Towers. We're making something historical, because it commemmorates the people who died," he said.

"It was pretty hard. We thought we would run out of paint," said Bernardo, 14. Supplies were donated by Morgan Paint, Tum-A-Lum Lumber, McIsaac's Store, and Wal-Mart.

Wyatt said the students directed themselves in the project. They figured out the dimensions of the flag, the logistics of creating stripes of two colors, and the division of labor in carrying out the project. The students worked together when paint overlapped or other "mistakes" were made.

"They had a very serious attitude," Wyatt said. "They were concerned about getting it done right."

That the flag will ultimately be covered was bittersweet for Wyatt and her students, but people are welcome to drive by 1100 Methodist Rd. and admire the flag before the house is installed.

"It makes for a great foundation for a house," said Mary Lou Bellis, Wyatt's grandmother, who helped on the project along with other family members and friends.

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