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posted: Tue, Nov 14th, 2017

Mosaic shows Tinc Road's character

The Tinc Road foyer is bursting with color thanks to a sprawling glass mosaic done by students in all grades, with the guidance of artist Kathy Casper and art teacher Jennifer Fernandez.

The tri-panel mosaic features the work of fourth- and fifth-grade classes and emphasizes the theme of “good character.” Fourth- and fifth-graders discussed in art class the various character traits they value. They expressed their opinions and ideas of what each character trait meant to them and how it could be best represented in the artwork. Next, each child envisioned the images for each panel and sketched how each would tell a story.  

The drawings of each class were combined into a composite representing the best work of students. The composites were shaped in clay and set into the mosaic panels, along with words and quotes related to respect and kindness. Students in all grades added colored glass to the mosaic and also created their own clay tiles for use in the border design. 

“The process showed students that art can be rich with meaning and make a powerful impact,” said Mrs. Fernandez. “It also helped students to think like artists. Kathy led students step by step through the entire process from planning to completion of a finished work of art. She exemplified so many of the studio habits of successful artists.”

Ms. Casper’s efforts were part of the Morris Arts’ Artist Residency Program and sponsored by the school’s parent teacher organization.

Teacher runs NYC Marathon

With friends and family members cheering her on from the sidewalk, first-grade teacher Dana Zagame completed the New York City Marathon and earned her bronze medallion.

Although she’s fit, Mrs. Zagame was not a runner before her marathon training – a fact that makes the accomplishment even more noteworthy. She did, however, have three experienced coaches in her corner: the Tinc Road staff members who ran the marathon in recent years.

Physical education teacher Lauren Bretzger (2015) devised the four-month-long training schedule; custodian Mark Eckert (2015) devoted a day each weekend to run long distances with her along Horseshoe Lake and Columbia Trail in Long Valley; and fourth-grade teacher Samantha Darnesto (2016) provided continual encouragement and advice.

“When I told her I was thinking about running the marathon, Sam wrote me a letter listing why I should do it and why I could do it,” said Mrs. Zagame. “It took her to believe in me for me to think ‘OK, this could be a bucket list type of thing.’ I want to give her a lot of credit for pushing me.”

Every year for the past three years, having a Tinc Road representative run in the marathon has filled the school with a palpable pride. The school-wide enthusiasm underscores not only the closeness of the staff but also the personal support they provide each other. It was clearly on display the week following the marathon. When she came to school the Monday after the race, Mrs. Zagame was greeted with a congratulations poster signed by staff members, as well as balloons and flowers.

During the marathon as Mrs. Zagame ran through New York’s five boroughs, she felt strong. This, however, would be the longest run of her life and there was a lingering anxiety. She’d heard stories about weakness and exhaustion frequently striking marathoners around the 20-mile marker. Despite the rigorous training schedule laid out for her, Mrs. Zagame had cut her final weekend runs a little “short.” Her furthest run was 18 miles, eight less than the marathon distance of 26.2. 

“Everyone told me that at 20 miles in, your body just doesn’t want to go any further,” she said. “But I saw my family cheering me on at 18 miles so I pushed through that wall and pushed harder toward the end. Finishing was just an amazing feeling. I would totally do this every year.” 

And she might have to if her 4-year-old daughter, Holland, has her way.

“After the race,” Mrs. Zagame recalls, “Holland said to me ‘Mommy, can I have your medal? And you can run again next year and give the medal to Ashlee [her 5-year-old daughter].’”

Tinc Road receives up to two entries in the New York City Marathon each year, thanks to the school's participation in Mighty Milers, a program from the marathon’s parent company which encourages students to walk and run to stay healthy.

“I strongly encourage other Tinc Road staff members to take up the mantle, challenge themselves, and be part of this incredible experience,” said Mrs. Zagame. “If I’m not running along side them, I’ll be cheering them on from the streets."

Dana Zagame stands with two of her coaches, Samantha Darnesto and Mark Eckert

Dana Zagame takes a moment during the marathon to pose for a photo with family and friends
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Tinc Road School
24 Tinc Road Flanders, NJ 07836
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