Sanding into the 75th anniversary

Students, teachers and members of the community gathered at Montgomery Elementary School Thursday night to sand baseball bats and share their memories of Little League. The bats that were sanded will be decorated by students and be included with their community project, which will be shown at The Gallery at Pennsylvania College of Technology as part of celebrating the 75th anniversary of Little League.

The project was given to the teachers and students when artist Charles Fazzino held workshops with fifth-grade students and their teachers last month at Little League International. Fifth-grade classes in Lycoming County and Sullivan County school districts are working on their own Fazzino-style art piece, to be shown with his work at The Gallery from July 10 to Aug. 24.

The fifth-grade students have been learning more about Charles Fazzino and his artwork since his visit. Fazzino has created some of his art on sports equipment, which inspired Montgomery Elementary’s idea for the project.

Using the bats the students sanded tonight, each student will design their bat to represent Little League in Montgomery, using the same pop art effect that Fazzino uses, substitute art teacher Bess Lowry said.

All the bats will then be arranged into a triangular shaped column and attached with recessed screws. The column will be about seven feet tall with a sign hanging above it. Once the sculpture is completed, it will be shown in The Gallery at Penn College.

Montgomery Elementary art teachers Tina Sampsell and Lowry collaborated to come up with the idea to host an event where the community could come together to help with the art project. Fifth-graders, parents and members of the community gathered to sand the wooden bats needed for the sculpture. The bats were donated by Little League International and the First Community Partnership of Pennsylvania.

“Sanding the bats was my favorite part of the evening, because I got to hang out with my friends and work on the bat I will use for the project,” fifth-grader Katelyn Taylor said.

Little League International representative Chris Downs was at the event to explain to the students how Little League got started by founder Carl Stotz. Only 30 neighborhood kids participated when Little League first started, but over the years, Little League has grown world-wide and now has more than 2.5 million children playing in Little League across the world. He also said how great of an opportunity it is for the students to grow up with the home of Little League in their backyard.

Students were then encouraged to go around the room and talk to different people about their experiences with Little League and write down their answers. The students used this opportunity to brainstorm ideas on what they want to create on their bats.

The PTSO had Little League themed refreshments at the event including: hot dogs, popcorn, Cracker Jacks and drinks. There also was Little League memorabilia set up for look at and remember the history of Little League.

“I’m ready to get back in the classroom and see what the students are going to do with this project,” said Sampsell, “Their artwork is all personal.”