UPDATE: Tom Roberts said March 5 that eight Brookfield students will start March 6.
Although some details need to be worked out, officials from Brookfield schools and the Hope Center for Arts and Technology in Sharon expect Brookfield students will begin taking part in the HopeCAT ceramics program the first week of March.
HopeCAT is accepting eight students from Brookfield to take classes with eight students from West Middlesex after school two days a week, two hours a day. Students from Sharon and Farrell already attend classes there.
“This would be at no charge to the district and no charge to the students,” Brookfield school Superintendent Velina Jo Taylor told the school board Jan. 21.
“It’s pretty much an amazing program,” she said. “I can’t tell you how excited I am to have our kids be a part of it.”
The students will learn from two instructors how to make clay and glazes from dry ingredients, she said. They will throw pots, decorate them with glazes and fire them in a kiln. At a May 3 open house, the students will show their work and sell it, if they want to.
The studio is open on Fridays for a limited number of students who want to work on their own, said HopeCAT Executive Director Tom Roberts.
“It’s based on the Manchester Bidwell philosophy that if you bring kids into a serene setting that is beautiful and inspirational and allow them to work with their hands and create things with their hands, they will rise up and really find ways to improve themselves,” Taylor said.
The students also will be able to apply for 12 slots to go to Yellowstone National Park for five days in June, he said.
Because of the short period of time in which to recruit students, HopeCAT is leaving it up to Brookfield officials to choose students.
“They have some suggestions for criteria to use,” Taylor said. “They’re really looking for kids who need to make a connection to school, that haven’t had that connection to school.”
School board member Tim Filipovich said a wide range of students should have an opportunity to participate.
“I can understand trying to target kids who might need that kind of support, but you also might have students that are really artistic and enjoy that and should have an opportunity as well,” Filipovich said.
The students will have to have their own transportation to get to and from the HopeCAT center, which is in what used to be Brookfield Elementary School on Sharon’s West Hill. Taylor said Transportation Coordinator Rick Dudzenski is looking into whether the district can transport them.