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Brightside unveils masterpiece

Date: 12/15/2009

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WEST SPRINGFIELD -- The diligent work of one teacher and her students will enhance the learning environment at Brightside -- a non-profit child welfare and family support center -- for many years to come.

Art teacher Susan Yates and her most dedicated student, 10th grader Mychael Gates, unveiled a new addition to the school last Friday -- a stained glass window, financed by the West Springfield Arts Council.

"This [project provided] a therapeutic process for kids to work and express the art they love so much," Diane Clark, chair of the Arts Council, said.

Vinnie Regan, principal of Brightside Campus School, echoed those sentiments, adding that the project allowed students to focus their attention on seeing a project through to the end.

"I think the art speaks for itself," he said. "This is going to be a contribution to Brightside that will be here forever."

Yates credited the completion of the 10-month project, which began in February, to Gates, who spent over 40 hours working on the window.

The work illustrates a gender-neutral angel surrounded by various symbols of nature. Yates explained the three doves represent trinity and peace; the squirrels illustrate the two orphan squirrels she found on the Brightside campus; rabbits symbolize innocence; the turtles illustrate the time it took to complete the project; and the whale is indicative of Gates' love for the sea.

Gates said he was pleased to see the window completed and installed in the school.

"It was great seeing us work together [on the window] as a team," Yeleiska, 10th grader, said, adding she might consider pursuing the arts in the future.

Jose, a ninth grader at Brightside, said he thought the window came out better than expected when the work began.