There was a big bang in the Thomson High School classroom, followed by some evolution through not-necessarily-natural selection. But it wasn't science class - it was ceramics 3 art. And the grand finale was "Frederick the Renaissance Man," who sits at his desk in the display case at the entrance of the school.
The eclectic sculpture has been an on-going project of ceramics students for the past several years, according to teacher Claudia Wells. Each year, Mrs. Wells assigned students to create a clay sculpture of something that symbolized studies or activities at the high school. Her original intent was to display the items in a garden in the senior lunch area outside. But when the garden's grand centerpiece - a ceramic bulldog - blew up in the kiln, Mrs. Wells started to worry about the safety of the other pieces if they were left out in the elements.
"Some of the students who made the pieces have graduated. ... But all the things looked so cool, I hated to let them just sit around," the art teacher said. "(After the explosion) I wanted them to see that things don't always turn out like you plan, but they still turn out."
This year, instead of assigning her two ceramics seniors, Katelyn Greene and Christine Usry, to make another school-inspired sculpture, Mrs. Wells assigned them to sculpt on a grander scale.
"Mrs. Wells said think of how to put it all together, and we didn't know what she meant, but we like how it turned out," Katelyn said. "This is definitely my favorite art project because we got to do whatever we wanted."
When looking at the different true-to-scale clay pieces - a soccer ball, football, basketball, baseball, bat, four football helmets, one Nike shoe, golf club, graduation hat, clarinet, flower pot with flowers and garden tools, blood pressure monitor with arm cuff and a half of a head with the inside parts painted, Katelyn and Christine decided they could assemble the pieces with an old anatomy skeleton that was stored in the closet of the art class.
"We used a lot of Gorilla Glue, caulking and Liquid Nails," Katelyn said with a laugh. "Now we just need to put some meat on him."
The girls dubbed their creation "Frederick," dressed him in a pair of jeans, a "5 out of 5" junior t-shirt and a THS graduation collar and set him in a black and gold spray-painted desk surrounded by his clay paraphernalia.
"Deciding how to arrange the helmets was the hardest part because we kept changing our mind," Christine said. "We laughed a lot."
In his front row seat, Frederick caught the eye of Renaissance teacher and media specialist Tammy Kay Brunson, who immediately added the "Renaissance Man" to Frederick's name.
"He's the total THS package because he has a brain, and he's got great school spirit," Mrs. Brunson said. "He's the epitome of the totally involved student."