Mr. Pilcher's Final Feats of Clay

By Ali Durkin and Jillian Risavi

Staff Writers

To help welcome the spring and summer months, Feats of Clay is held on the first Friday of May each year. This year, it was held at Ann Felton Multicultural Center Gallery at Onondaga Community College. Out of the 23 schools that participated in this local clay competition, Jamesville-DeWitt High School’s Feats of Clay team placed sixth. Other local schools like Fayetteville-Manlius, East-Syracuse Minoa, and Christian Brothers Academy also attended the competition. Ceramics teacher Steve Pilcher has been taking 12 to 15 students to Feats of Clay for 28 years, but this was special because it was his last.

Mr. Pilcher carefully chooses who goes to Feats of Clay and assigns them events based on their experience and dedication. Feats of Clay has many different events, like Cylinder Stacking, No Hands Throwing, the Blindfold Throw, Pot Put, Mug Production, and Coil Building. There were many practice days where students that wanted to attend the competition could go and work on the event they wanted to compete in. The amount of  time, work, and practice the student puts are some main factors that help Mr. Pilcher decide who goes and who doesn’t. “The key aspect is practicing; it’s like a sporting event. You work together as a team.” said Mr. Pilcher.                      

Freshmen Meg Hair and Jack Boeheim, who were in Ceramics the entire year, had the opportunity to join J-DHS’s Feats of Clay team and did the Mug Production and Coil Building. Because they are freshmen, Mr. Pilcher said he wanted the less experienced students to try the easier events for their first year at Feats of Clay. It was sophomore Bess Murad’s first time at the competition as well, and so she participated in Coil Building and Pot Put. “It was awesome. I’m definitely thinking about doing it again next year,” says Boeheim. Hair also really enjoyed having the opportunity to go, “I would totally recommend going to people that love competition and clay,” she said. Boeheim's favorite part of going was “hanging out with friends and eating really good food.” The team ate lunch at the campus restaurants. Murad enjoyed meeting new people and seeing how talented everyone was.

More advanced students like seniors Frankie Mignacca and Tommy Morse have taken ceramics all four years and were involved in more challenging events such as Cylinder Stacking. Cylinder Stacking is where four members of each team have to make as many clay cylinders as possible and stack them as high as they can within 10 minutes. “We may have not won, but it was still a lot of fun,” says Morse. Morse has been to Feats of Clay three times while this is Mignacca first and final year at the competition. “I wish I did it sooner,” says Mignacca, who recommends it to kids who take or want to take Ceramics and want to have a fun experience. Both Mignacca and Morse’s favorite part of the trip was being able to walk around and checkout the college campus. “My sister goes to OCC so it was fun being able to see her,” says Morse. Morse said he also liked the campus restaurants because of the large selection of food. “They even have a Starbucks!” says Morse.