Class gift honors SC administrator

Lars Lonnroth, Assistant News Editor

When returning from the weekend on Dec. 18, students saw the facade of one SC entrance transformed. This year’s senior class gift—an enormous decal depicting the head of a lion—was plastered onto the windows overlooking the doors of the SC pool.

But on top of beautifying the campus, the class gift had additional sentimental significance: it is dedicated to a long-time LT administrator.

Therese Nelson, the associate principal at SC, has worked at LT for 19 years. Noting her 35 years working in education, Nelson has indicated that her retirement is likely coming within the next few years. When she eventually retires, her legacy will likely live on as the senior class board made an idea of hers a reality with their class of 2018 gift.

In 2013, Nelson approached paraeducator Jacqueline Alberico and teacher Raymond Burtner—who were at the time co-sponsors of the 2014 class board—about a potential class gift for that year.

“She asked me, ‘have you thought about a gift [for this year]’ and I said, ‘no we haven’t thought of anything,’” Alberico recalled. “And she said, ‘well, we’ve been trying to get something on the windows of the pool… [We] would really love to get something on those windows.’”

Alberico agreed.

Initially, the plan was to install a stained glass window in the location where the lion is currently displayed now, but the 2014 class board quickly realized that it would be too expensive. That year’s class board was already committed to doing something with stained glass, so the idea fell to the side.

When that class graduated, Alberico proposed Nelson’s idea to the class board of 2018, who were on board with the plan.

“It was unanimous,” senior class board President Amaria Clarke ‘18 said. “For those of us who know Ms. Nelson, she is great and is really encouraging. It was never a ‘maybe not.’ It was always a ‘why not?’”

Considering all of Nelson’s service to LT, it is right that she is honored in this way, Alberico said.

“She has done so much for this school with transforming both campuses—and especially SC—into an environment that is so welcoming,” Alberico said. “She really just revamped the campus where it is so inviting.”

Over the past three years, the class board held a variety of fundraisers to raise the required revenue. They sold T-shirts, candy and held an array of other events.

The senior class board of this year worked on the assumption that the project would cost $10,000, but that estimation was higher than reality, Alberico said. The project was cheaper than they expected, only costing $6,400.

According to Alberico, the money left over from the project will go to either a senior-only class event or may be syphoned off to help pay for this year’s prom.

While being cheaper than expected, Clarke said that her class gave something that will be a part of the school for years.

“I think the reason we got so excited about this class gift and [why] we just knew that this is something that we wanted to do, [is because] coming from middle school our class gifts were minor,” Clarke said. “We were like, ‘This is something that is big.’”

According to Tom Sitkowski, manager of Bannerville U.S.A—whose company put up the decal—the lion graphic is a Translucent Vinyl Decal. That format allows light to pass through and illuminate the image when there is light on one side of the decal but not another.

According to Alberico, the company guaranteed that it would last at least 10-15 years at its current quality. After those 10-15 years, however, it could fade slightly. But Alberico said that these type of decals are often blown up on buses, and—unlike buses—the class gift will likely last longer as it is not in direct sunlight.

Even if there may be a risk of it fading, Alberico does not think that it is much to worry about.

“There is no guarantee,” she said, noting the class gift is hidden away from much of the sunlight that would cause major fading. “Even though it [may] fade, it will not take away from the striking nature of the image.”