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Classy glass

Growth and hard work symbolized in beautiful school window

Cottonwood High School's already art-filled building just became a little artier.

Already known for displaying all original student artwork dating back to 1973 in its halls, the school received an 18-by-2-foot stained-glass window as a permanent fixture of its makeup, courtesy of art teachers John Fackrell and Bill Laursen.

The window was presented to Cottonwood by the graduating classes of 2000 and 2001. Made up of three panels, it depicts the leaves and branches of a Cottonwood tree during its seasons of growth — spring, summer and fall — as well as symbolizing the sophomore, junior and senior years of the high school experience.

Consisting of 450 pieces of colored glass, it took the teachers more than 1,000 hours to complete — most of their summer. It was finished the week before school started.

While both joke about the the long hours and having to do most of the work in a room with no air conditioning during 100-degree weather, each art teacher is a little more than pleased with the end result.

"It adds a lot of class to our entryway, and I'm just darn glad it's done," Laursen said. "And while it was worthwhile and I'm glad we did it, I don't think we'll do another one."

Working with glass "is not enjoyable work, like watercolors or oil painting," Fackrell said. "It's labor-intensive. If there's any appreciation in it at all, it's when it's up and on display." Besides, it's simply time-consuming.

Though this wasn't the first time students had requested the teachers' window-constructing services, it was the first time they were able find an adequate spot to place it. As it is now, the windows face south, able to catch sunlight on a daily basis.

Though Fackrell believes the value of the window runs near the $8,000 mark, last year's senior class was able to do it for $4,000, raising most of the money by donating their $10 textbook deposits at the end of the year.

Cottonwood is one of the few high schools in the valley to teach stained-glass techniques. About 400 students now take the course each year, according to Fackrell.

E-MAIL: dmoody@desnews.com