MOUNT VERNON — Wonderful results can be achieved when college-bound high schoolers team up with students with disabilities. Latin III students at Mount Vernon High School collaborated with Knox County Educational Service Center Transition Mission students on a mosaic project that was a blending of the ancient art of mosaics with 21st century themes.
In March, the two groups met and viewed pictures of classic mosaic works of mythological gods, goddesses and creatures and selected the theme for their own designs. Some chose classic themes; others opted for more contemporary subject matter. Divided into project teams, the two classes met daily for about three weeks and, using porcelain tile, glass, plastic jewels and paint, ended up with an imaginative creation ready for display.
Latin instructor Mary Jo Behrensmeyer said the students quickly became friends, talking about daily life activities as well as the mosaic work. She said there is an academic component to the project as well a creative element.
“To ‘electrify’ a learning environment necessitates an authentic experience, a credible authority,” said Behrensmeyer. “The creation of mosaics based on mythological themes augments the learning of Latin for the Latin III students, provides an academic experience for the handicapped students and an artistic experience for the Mount Vernon community members who view the mosaics.”
Transition Mission instructor Nancy Gregg said the Latin students really put a lot of themselves into the project and hopes they realize the significance of them helping someone with disabilities to do their best. She said her students learned from the Latin III students, and the Latin III students also learned about the nature of syndromes, brain injuries and other challenging conditions.