By Morgan Maselli, Staff Writer. Photo by Morgan Maselli.
It was one year ago that a light in LCA’s lantern went out. The “mama bear” of our school, Mrs. Johnson, tragically passed away last November. It was a loss that shook our school down to its foundations, for Mrs. Johnson had touched the hearts of students from every grade.
A painting by Mrs. Johnson’s sister has been installed by the sixth grade cubbies, the grade she used to teach, to commemorate the beloved teacher. There are several personal connections to Mrs. Johnson in the painting. The painting depicts a young girl sitting near a stone wall next to a window. She is busy reading The Wednesday Wars by Gary Shmidt. There is a coffee cup resting on her knee. Some of the books students read in Mrs. Johnson’s class are stacked right beside her. These include Lizzy Bright and the Buckminster Boy, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Catcher in the Rye, Counting by 7’s, and on the bottom of the stack is a leather bible. Mrs. Johnson’s sister Ruth did an excellent job of incorporating elements of the books into the painting. For example, the girl’s dress has the fish from Counting by 7’s printed on it, and there is a mockingbird flying out the window. At the bottom of the painting reads Psalm 16:6, “The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places, surely I have delightful inheritance.” This verse is explaining how someone’s family and inheritance is beautiful. Through this verse, Mrs. Johnson’s sister is telling us how much she cared for her sister and how important she was to her.
The Blue and White interviewed Mrs. Chaney who had a close connection with Mrs. Johnson and was involved with the decisions revolving around the painting. We asked about her thoughts on the painting.
Q: Why did you decide on a painting as a memorial? Over a sculpture, naming a wing after her etc.
A: “It wasn’t about choosing a painting over anything else. It was about choosing something that we thought could be in collaboration with her family, so the painting was made by her sister who is a visual artist. It wasn’t like we picked it over anything else.”
Q: Who chose the topic of the painting? Did the school give a request on the topic?
A: “It was all her sister’s idea. Ms. Metzger approached Mrs. Johnson’s sister to say that we would love an artwork from her where she honored her sister, and this what she chose to do. So it was completely up to her.”
This painting done by her sister is truly a beautiful piece of art celebrating the incredible teacher Mrs. Johnson was. We hope that you have a chance to look at the painting honoring Mrs. Johnson as you walk by the 6th grade cubby room.