But the warped, bowl-like mug was still fun to make, even though it didn’t look the way Erica had intended, she said.
The students were putting the final touches on nine clay pieces they had made during the first of their twice-weekly classes, which will continue until March 31.
Jefferson has owned a kiln for years, but hasn’t had a pottery class to use it since at least 2004 because there wasn’t funding to support one, teacher Mayra Wasco said.
But with money from a Gifted and Talented Education program grant the school was able to pay Wasco, and administrators found funds to purchase 500 pounds of clay, she said.
Wasco — who has taught at Jefferson for 34 years, including 27 years as a sixth-grade instructor, and has practiced pottery in her home studio since 1970 — provided the rolling pins, boards, guiding tools and other utensils necessary for the class.
The class was a valuable break from routine for the talented students, she said.
“We do a lot of academics, and its very rigorous,” Wasco said. “This is a class where they can just come in and be creative, where they don’t have to worry about memorizing.”
The group brushed paint onto baked mugs, pinch pots and mail holders before covering the items with glaze so they could be placed into the kiln over the weekend.
The class was an important part of 9-year-old Vivica Rush’s day, she said.
“It’s not just about academic grades,” she said. “You should express your feelings and have fun.”
Vivica was painting a mug when she pointed to a quiet classmate with envy.
“She’s perfect; it’s not fair,” Vivica said of 10-year-old Gillian Ocuaman, the fourth-grade spelling bee champion and silent pottery enthusiast.