Wednesday, June 9, 2004

Hamilton's big day now cast in bronze for all to remember

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer contributor

Rod Paige, U.S. education secretary, helps dedicate the sculpture at Hamilton High School that depicts President Bush signing the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002.The cast-bronze work is by artist Jarrett Hawkins.
Cincinnati Enquirer/GARY LANDERS
HAMILTON - When 13-year-old Maria Montes looks at the bronze statue of herself on the plaza of Hamilton High School, she's proud.

Proud that two years ago, as a fifth-grader, she was on the stage as President Bush signed the historic No Child Left Behind education-reform act in her adopted hometown.

"I hope my family will be proud of it. I've never been in a statue," said Maria, who came to Hamilton from Mexico almost four years ago. "It looks younger than me."

Maria is depicted in one of the nine life-size figures in the bronze-and-granite No Child Left Behind Sculpture Plaza, dedicated Tuesday. The artwork was commissioned and paid for by Hamilton philanthropists Donna and Ralph "Pat" Carruthers to commemorate the Jan. 8, 2002, signing.

U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige and Congressman John Boehner, R-West Chester, spoke briefly at the ceremony.

"It was to mark the day a bill was signed by a president. It had never happened before in Ohio and might never happen again," Donna Carruthers said. "It's a nonpolitical thing. Everyone in this city should be proud the education bill was signed here."

Superintendent Janet Baker called the artwork a lifetime reminder of Hamilton's unity and hometown pride.

"I believe that the Sculpture Plaza will challenge the intellect and emotion of Hamilton students, staff and community for years to come," Baker said.

Two years ago, Tez Taylor was on the dais behind Bush. He received a pen to mark the occasion. All the then-Jefferson Elementary School fourth-grader wanted to do was write with the pen. He still wants to write with it, but knows he can't.

"It's on a plaque in my grandma's living room," said Taylor, 12.

As he looked at the statue - depicting him in a wrinkled sweat shirt, fingering his backpack - he fidgeted.

"Everybody's talking to me. I get nervous."

His grandmother, Joann Harris, said the entire family is proud of Tez. "It's a big thing - huge, overwhelming. I'm the proud grandma."


Who is Nat Comisar?
Bush 'No Child' act defended
Hamilton's big day now cast in bronze for all to remember
Drownings mount with heat
Advocates of smoking ban in workplace plead case

Milford man helps save baseball journey
Prosecutor says man killed couple for $20
U.S. takes over lead site
New Gateway College stalls
News briefs
Neighbors briefs
Owensby trial faces further delays
Public safety briefs
Downtown site for arts school may change
Village adjusts to trail plan
Warren Co. college plan developing
Accused shooter ordered to have treatment, hearing
In 6 minutes, life drains out for convicted killer of jailer

Good Things Happening

Jerry Babik, 72, Army vet, worked for Cincinnati Bell

Lexington's airport among fastest-growing
Kentucky revenue inching upward
Suit seeks to open community center
Florence completes spending on major projects for now
Fox: State tests aren't indicative of progress
Newport rejects long repayment plan
NKU joins outreach project
Kenton paw park will be 6th in region
Kentucky scores high for 'highly qualified' teachers
Kentucky news briefs