Parkrose High potters spin up dishes for ‘Souper Bowl’ fundraiser

You’ll be amazed to discover out how many soup bowls the school’s art students hand-made for this event – raising money to support a local Habitat for Humanity project. And, find out why it’s not too late to help support this worthy project  …

Parkrose High School senior Orest Zavedyuk shows off two of the 90 bowls he created on a potter’s wheel for the school’s first “Souper Bowl” event. He’s joined by his instructor, and the organizer of the event, Mark Warner.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
On Saturday, February 6 – the day before the big football game – students at Parkrose High School held their own “Souper Bowl”. They were selling gourmet soup – in soup bowls fashioned by students in the school’s art department.

In addition to delicious soups and hot breadsticks provided by the Olive Garden Restaurant, guests who each paid a minimum of $15 donation, got to take their new soup bowls home. While there, participants were also treated to entertainment by the Parkrose Jazz Band and choirs, demonstrations on the ceramics potting wheel, and an exhibit of artwork from Ms. Cordova’s art classes.

Rex Putnam High School seniors Kelly Antolic, Kara Webster and Marshal Ellison – all volunteers with the Habitat for Humanity Youth United group, help out by serving soup in the Parkrose High School cafeteria.

Inspired by his mentor
The man behind this tasty fundraiser was Mark Warner, a Parkrose High art instructor who teaches ceramics, sculpture, and AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) classes.

“My mentoring teacher in Madison, Wisconsin – he passed away a couple of years ago – held a similar event at his school,” Warner told us. “There, the ‘Souper Bowl’ grew to the point where they’d raise upwards of $40,000 in one day. To keep his memory alive, I wanted to do something meaningful with my kids.”

Pottery-making is a form of art that, by its nature, allows the artist to create objects with purpose and meaning, Warner observed. “By connecting this work with fundraising, it’s good for our students and good for the community.”

Steven and Joy Voorhees (he’s the Market Master of the Parkrose Farmer’s Market) show off the bowls they purchased in support of the event.

And, Habitat for Humanity will benefit from the fundraiser, Warner pointed out. “It was my mentor’s choice back in Wisconsin,” Warner said. “I didn’t see why we should change it.”

In total, about 160 students were involved in the project, Warner said, making about 300 soup bowls of all sizes, shapes, and colors. “It kept the wheels and kilns pretty busy, especially in the last couple of weeks.”

Choir, vocal and music keyboard instructor, Lesley Bossert, provides beautiful piano music to which guests could sip and sup on their soup dinner.

Top student potter goes into overtime
Of all the students participating in the bowl-making process, Warner announced Parkrose High senior Orest Zavedyuk as the champion potter.

“I made about 90 bowls, Zavedyuk said, with a modest smile. “Mr. Warner decided to have a competition to see who could make the most bowls during a class. I think I beat him by 15 bowls!”

While he might not make pottery-making a career, Zavedyuk said it’s a great hobby. “I’ve taken classes in it since I was a freshman. I enjoy doing it a lot; it’s relaxing to me. I’m thinking about buying my own wheel and creating works that I’ll bring to school for firing and glazing.”

Karen Montez, John Shackleford, and Parkrose High senior Stephanie Montiez enjoy Olive Garden soup served in their new bowls.

Students to build a Habitat home
“We are so thankful that students here at Parkrose High School decided to do the ‘Souper Bowl’ event,” said Marianne McClure, Faith Relations and Youth Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity Metro East.

“These funds will help support our Habitat for Humanity Metro East ‘Youth United’ specialty build,” McClure explained. “In the Youth United program, students from age 5 to 25 raise $60,000 and build a home.”

While students must be at least 16 years of age to swing a hammer, the program encourages the younger kids to help out with advocacy, education, and fund raising, McClure noted. “Parkrose students work with others, including those of college age, to plan and work on homes. That’s why you see Rex Putnam High students here today, helping out.”

To learn more about Habitat for Humanity’s Youth United program, CLICK HERE to visit their website.

You can still help out: Purchase one or more of these student-made bowls.

Surplus bowls for sale
At the event, Warner said they’d raised about $1,000 in pre-sales. “My goal for this year was to raise $2,000. But it’s the first time, and we’re hoping to grow this event over the coming years.”

By the way, you can still help support this worthy project by purchasing food-grade, hand-crafted soup bowls (now without soup, of course!). For best selection, contact him promptly by sending him an e-mail at:

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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