Paul B. Stephens Jr. School

Cathy envisioned and created a wonderful experience for all the students at Paul B. Stephens school in Clearwater, Florida.  This school is part of the Pinellas County School system.  The following description of the school has been lifted from their website.

The Purpose of Life is a Life of Purpose, The focus of the Paul B. Stephens Exceptional Student Education Center is to prepare our students to be independent and productive in their daily lives and communities. We provide a variety of educational services for students ages 3 to 22 who have Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Our students have been identified as requiring a highly specialized curriculum due to significant behavioral challenges paired with significant delays in development and /or medical needs requiring continuous intervention from a trained staff. We provide an appropriate academic curriculum aligned to Common Core Connectors. Through social activities, pre-employment experiences and appropriate academics, our students experience the joy of life and learning.

We truly believe “all students can learn and succeed but just not on the same day in the same way.” -William G. Spady

This very special art project required a specific set of skills to work together with the student body and staff at Paul B. Stephens.  Cathy was the perfect person to have undertaken this project.  Cathy worked one on one with each student no matter how minimual their manual skills were.  With her own special abilities and talent she was able to facilitate the creation of a work of art from each student and staff member that became a part of the larger work of art permanently installed at the school campus.

This permanent work of art created by the students, the staff and Cathy is installed along the hallway areas of the center courtyard area for the school.  It is created from 6 by 6 inch fired ceramic tile.  The entire mural measures 2 feet high and is approximately 200 linear feet.  It is a very impressive work of art.

The solgan for the school is "Home of the Stars".  Each student painted a 'star' tile as well as a hand print tile. The rest of the design was painted by Cathy.  After the tiles were painted with underglazes by the students we glazed them with a clear glaze and fired them in our kiln.  The design Cathy created repeats every two square feet.  In the next photograph I have outlined a two square foot section to show you the repeating pattern.  With each star Cathy hand lettered over the top of it the name of the student who painted it.

The next photograph shows the center of the mural with a section commemorating its creation.

The following photographs show different parts of the mural.

As you can imagine keeping the hundreds and hundreds of tile pieces organized was quite the challenge.  When it came time to install the piece we hired a great crew of 5 installers.  With Cathy and I laying out the tile as the install crew worked we were able to install the entire mural in one day.  A long day but we got it done.  The next few pictures are of the installation process.

This first picture is the whole crew working with Cathy supervising.

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