Lawrence Dedicates COVID-19 Sculpture Created by Greater Lawrence Tech Students

From left, Greater Lawrence Technical School Superintendent John Lavoie; students Brady Valliere from Methuen and Carlos Burgos from Lawrence; Lawrence Mayor Kendrys Vasquez, Orlendi Hernandez, from Lawrence, and Greater Lawrence Technical School Principal Susan Zielinski. (Courtesy photograph.)

A COVID-19-vaccination-themed sculpture created by Greater Lawrence Technical School students was unveiled Tuesday in Lawrence.

City and school officials and students participated in a ceremony to unveil the sculpture, created to remind the community of its fight against the COVID-19 virus and about the critical role vaccination plays in winning that fight.

“This is truly a sign that our students, our teachers, and our School Committee value the people of the City of Lawrence,” Superintendent John Lavoie said. “This really was a labor of love.”

Metal Fabrication Instructor Stephanie DiCecca sketched the design. About 10 juniors in the Metal Fabrication program worked alongside instructors

Mayor Kendrys Vasquez said he toured the school not long after taking office. He said he was impressed by the quality of the programs at Greater Lawrence Technical School, and amazed by the conceptual designs for the sculpture.

The sculpture is metal, in a heart shape with Plexiglas slats. The slats represent the percentage of the Lawrence community fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and new slats will be added as vaccination rates increase. Five slats have been inserted, marking that 56 percent of the Lawrence community has received at least one vaccine shot.

“How tremendous would it be to see that heart filled to the top?” Vasquez asked, then urging those who are not vaccinated to do so.

The sculpture will be placed at the Pemberton Way entrance to City Hall, the door closest to the room where the city offers vaccinations. City leaders said they hope those who become vaccinated will have their photo taken next to the sculpture to mark the occasion.

State Rep. Frank Moran thanked the students and school, explaining the COVID pandemic touched him personally. Last fall the city dedicated the Empty Chair Memorial in Campagnone Common Park across from City Hall. Hundreds of empty chairs denote the hundreds of Lawrencians who have died from COVID-19. Moran said one of those chairs represents the passing of his brother, who died at age 53 from COVID-19.

Vasquez, Moran and state Rep. Marcos Devers presented students Carlos Burgos, Orlendi Hernandez, a junior of Lawrence, and Brady Valliere, a junior from Methuen, who attended the event, with proclamations to thank them for their work.

“Not many people can say they did something at my age for a big cause like this,” Valliere said. “I hope this stands for something, and that people get vaccinated.”

“Small town kids can do big things,” Hernandez added.

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