J-DHS Students Dominate at Feats of Clay

Marcus Payne & Jacob Marshall

Staff Writers


Twenty Jamesville-DeWitt High School students traveled to the Onondaga Community College campus to participate in the 31st annual  Feats of Clay competition. This competition consists of six events: the cylinder stack, mugathon (Mug Production), no hands throw, blindfold throw, pot put and coil building. Out of 25 teams in the competition, J-DHS came in third.

The competition starts off with the cylinder stack. Four students rotate on and off a potter’s wheel. They each throw a cylinder, take it off of the wheel and stack them up. The tallest cylinder wins the competition. “There was a lot of teamwork involved to help us win,” said sophomore Joe Hodge; “we worked as a team and tried our hardest."

Next is the mugathon (Mug Production) where four students rotate on and off the wheel making mugs. The school that makes the most mugs in five minutes wins. After that is the no hands throw. Four students start with 25 pounds of clay on the wheel and they have to throw a bowl without using their hands. “It was very fast paced and I had to (concentrate) and I had to put a lot of effort during the mugathon,” said sophomore Gabby O’Hara.

In the blindfold throw, two students work together, one of them with a blindfold on, to create the tallest cylinder they can out of five pounds of clay. The pot put is where four students throw the mugs made from the mugathon into trash cans 20-30 feet away from them. Points are awarded for the number of mugs that land in the garbage can.

The last event is coil building, where all 20 students work together to make the tallest cylinder tower they can out of 100 pounds of clay. This year J-DHS threw a cylinder 68.5 feet, which is a new record for them.

They got off to a rough start in the competition because they didn’t place in the top 5 in the cylinder stack, mugathon, and no hands throw, so they didn’t earn any points. They built up their confidence in the blindfold throw and pot put, scoring 7 points in each event. In the last event, the Coil Building, they scored three points and so finished in third place with an overall score of 17 points. East Syracuse-Minoa was second with 21 and Altmar-Parish-Williamstown was first with 23.

Ceramics teacher Mark McIntyre chaperoned the students for the competition which he has done for the past two years. In the last two years, the students placed second and fifth in the competition.

J-DHS has participated in all 31 years of the Feats of Clay competition and Mr. McIntyre says they will continue to do so. “It’s a good showcase of JD’s skills in the ceramic arena. It's a fun field trip and students can see artwork from other schools displayed in the professional art gallery,” said Mr. McIntyre. Although they did not win this year’s contest, the J-DHS students are very optimistic about next year. “I’m looking forward to going back-to-back in the (blindfold) throwing competition,” said junior Carter Kowalczyk. JD has never won a Feats of Clay competition but Mr. McIntyre is confident that they will soon.

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