HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Inspired by the iconic Virginia LOVE sign, a group of students put together their own retention – made mostly out of metal and recyclables.
“We practice, practice and practice. We hadn’t yet … implemented and created something. That’s what I was excited for. I was excited to create something to build something that can be used,: Makai Gillis, a senior at King’s Fork High School.
Gillis is also a part of the welding program at Suffolk Public Schools’ College and Career Academy at Pruden.
She and her classmates fused together the sculpture.
It was her instructor Tom Shirk’s idea to enter askHRgreen.org’s recycling awareness campaign.
“We just sat around with the kids and did some sketches, and we formulated a plan,” Shirk said.
Students started building back in January. They were tasked with creating a recycling-themed LOVE sign.
Students used techniques they learned in class to weld the sign together.
“The welding process we used was gas metal arc welding and MIG welding. … The students did plasma arc cutting,” Shirk said.
It was also a lesson in patience and problem-solving because it wasn’t smooth sailing building the 8-by-5-foot sign.
“If the weld was bad, or I welded too much, I had to go back and grind it off and try it again,” Gillis said. “Ultimately, problem-solving skills is what I learned throughout the projects.”
That project will be displayed in different cities around the area to start a conversation about recycling.
“People will realize recycling is alive and well and we all have a part in it,” said Katie Cullipher, Hampton Roads Planning District Commission principal environmental education planner.
You can do that now by simply tossing any paper, plastic or metal bottles into the blue bins.
“If we all did those things, we would be doing a great job with our recycling efforts,” Cullipher said.
The LOVE sign is set to hit the road this weekend. Gillis hopes it’s a display of their work and reminds you to recycle.
“I hope they see a product of hard work because it was hard work and I hope they see the importance of recycling,” she said.
Want to see the LOVE sign?
You can see the LOVE sign at the Suffolk Earth and Arts Festival Saturday.
Learn where it’s stopping next by clicking here.