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Thornhill student loon chair brightens Pan Am Village
July 16, 2015
By Simone Joseph

Colourful artwork created by four Thornhill high school students is now on display as a piece of Canadiana at the Pan Am Athletes’ Village.

To help beautify the village, Pan Am organizers invited all Ontario high school students to design and paint on three, 7-ft. Muskoka chairs.

Each chair was required to have its own theme, such as cottage life, the waterfront or the city skyline, with its own particular colour scheme.

On behalf of St. Elizabeth Catholic High School, teacher Fred Galang accepted the creative invitation and assigned his Grade 11 design students to the task of designing and painting chairs as their culminating project.

Five groups submitted a design. The team of Jessica Bartella, Natalie Grossi, Samantha Hansel and Monique Lopes won in the ‘cottage life’ category.

Using aboriginal art as a point of inspiration, the group decided to include a powerful image of the loon in its idyllic northern environment.

“Norval Morrisseau was an inspiration,” Bartella explained.

Lopes added: “The number of colours he could put in and how well they worked together was a good frame of reference.”

When the Pan Am Games conclude, the chairs will be donated to the winning schools as a reminder of the spirit of competition that embodies the Pan Am and Parapan Am Games.

“It’s special to participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Grossi said.

“It is an absolute honour to have been one of the winners of the 2015 Pan Am / Parapan Am Games chair design contest,” Hansel added. “We couldn’t be more grateful for this extraordinary opportunity to share our Canadian pride and talent with the world.”

More images and creations of the Thornhill students can be found by going to the York Catholic District School Board website, and searching for PanAmChairs.