“It’s outstanding and emotional.” Those were the words of CEA Vice President Jeff Leake today as he formally accepted and displayed for the first time, a bronze sculpture from Connecticut artist Marilyn Parkinson Thrall, memorializing the heroism and sacrifice that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
During a brief ceremony on the first floor lobby at CEA headquarters in Hartford, Leake said the sculpture, which depicts a teacher reading to a group of young children, epitomizes the secure trusting environment in our public schools. “Marilyn did a terrific job with the sculpture. She passionately captured her vision to depict the simple joy of learning, the enthusiasm of sharing, and the innocence of youth,” he said.
Thrall said it was a thrill to see the entire sculpture together on display and to watch the reactions of people viewing it. “It conveys the important feelings relayed between students and teachers that are so important, and so special. We have to always strive to keep those feelings,” she said.
Leake thanked everyone for their support during one of the darkest days in education, and for helping the education community move forward from the tragedy, and create this lasting tribute to the 26 educators and students killed on December 14, 2012.
CEA President Sheila Cohen said she is proud of the entire education community and all who helped this become a reality.
“The tireless efforts of Jeff and his administrative assistant Mary Pat Soucy, combined with the artistic talents of Marilyn Thrall, and the outpouring of support from across the country all helped create a lasting monument. It will help us remember and heal from the unimaginable tragedy that will forever be part of our lives,” said Cohen.
The sculpture will be on display on the first floor of CEA’s building at 21 Oak Street in Hartford, until it is moved to its final home.