EMGL Students Make Sculptures Promoting Vaccines | Local News
The city of Lawrence unveiled a symbol of its vaccination campaign in the shape of a blue and yellow heart last week, thanks to work done by a group of local teens.
Made from steel and plexiglass by students in the Metal Fabrication program at Greater Lawrence Technical School, the sculpture was discovered in the plaza next to Lawrence’s Town Hall, but will eventually be moved to the inside.
There, it will be stationed at the entrance of a clinic where residents can get vaccinated for free, and where the heart will not only serve as a symbol of hope, but also serve as a dashboard.
“This sculpture was designed to show the progress of the vaccine in the city of Lawrence,” said Mayor Kendrys Vasquez. “Each coverslip you see represents 10 percent of the residents of Lawrence who have been vaccinated.”
The blue blades sit horizontally in an empty metal frame at the top, which leaves something to be desired despite the progress made.
As of Monday, 56.8% of Lawrence residents had received at least one dose of the vaccine and more than 90% of citizens over 65 had been vaccinated, Vazquez said. He encouraged those who still have not been vaccinated to visit the city’s website, where they can find help locating a vaccine.
“How great it would be if this heart were filled to the top, if all residents of Lawrence were vaccinated,” he said. “This is our goal, and I know that together we can achieve it.”
Vasquez also presented the heart as an incentive, when he invited anyone in the crowd who had not been vaccinated to do so at town hall.
“Be one of the first people to take your photo, right after receiving your vaccine, with our beautiful vaccine sculpture,” he said.
State Representative Frank Moran contrasted the heart sculpture’s inspiring presence with a dark memorial on the Common across the street, where empty chairs depict citizens of Lawrence who died from COVID-19.
“One of those chairs over there belongs to my brother, 53,” Moran said. “Make sure you get the vaccine. Don’t become the next empty chair in this bundle. Go ahead, get vaccinated, and protect not only yourself, but everyone around you. It’s free. You have three pharmacies in the town of Lawrence that have it.
John Lavoie, superintendent of the Grand Laurent technical school, thanked the mayor for commissioning his students to make the sculpture, which was based on a design by one of their teachers, Stéphanie Dicecca.
“A project like this is an opportunity for our students to really embrace a project that is so important to the community,” Lavoie said. “I think education is not just about books and building, but about doing things that can help and support their community.”
Certificates of recognition were presented at the unveiling to Carlos Burgos and Orlendi Hernandez, both of Lawrence, and Brady Valliere of Methuen, three elderly people who helped create the sculpture.
They said the project took a month and a half to complete, with two metalworking classes working in shifts for a week at a time.
“Welding is a passion for me, and I’m just grateful that I was able to be a part of this project for the City of Lawrence,” said Vallière.
The heart-shaped frame rests on a base of four large syringes, and the phrase “Lawrence Saves Lives” appears in metallic letters on each side, in Spanish and English.
“I believe it and I want all of our residents to believe it too,” Vazquez said. “Each of us has the power to save a life by getting vaccinated today. There are plenty of vaccine sites all over town.