The Mountain View School District art program has won the 2017 Susquehanna County District 4-0 “Paint the Plow” contest.
About 25 seventh through 12th graders helped paint an operational PennDOT snowplow now emblazoned with the Mountain View Eagle as well as cautionary messages such as “Drive Slow On Winter Roads.” The group was presented a commemorative plaque last week.
Mountain View Superintendent Karen Voigt explained how the plow was delivered the first day of school and how contest guidelines established the general theme of the competition.
“These are actual functioning plows. This plow will be on the road this winter,” Voigt said. Kingsley-based Mountain View educates about 900 students each year.
Voigt said she hopes to see the plow in action on S.R. 106, which passes between Mountain View’s elementary, Junior and High Schools.
Mountain View art teacher Diana Lombardi estimated that the group spent between seven to 10 hours on the project. The paints were purchased at Nicholson Lumber and the group was later reimbursed by the school, she explained.
“We knew we wanted to put the Eagle in there,” Lombardi said. “We knew we had to talk about something that had to do with safety and driving. So it just kind of made sense to have the Eagle soaring and talk about how fast you’re going on the road. So ‘Eagles Drive Slow’ was really our goal,” she said.
Senior Tim Hill from Nicholson said that if there hadn’t been a group of students working with the finicky oil paints, it wouldn’t have gotten done.
“It was a very hard project to work on, a challenge,” he said.
Hill explained that oil paints weren’t something he was accustomed to working with and painting on the concave surface of the snowplow also made things especially challenging.
“It dripped a lot making us having to go back and clean it up, fix it up,” he added.
Hill said he also learned a lot about working with other students.
“Due to the oils and, like I said, the way this was curved, it was really difficult to work with. I was working with people that I wasn’t quite familiar with and that made it a challenge, but we all bonded over it,” Hill said.
Briana Frankovsky, another senior who worked on the project, turns to art – including painting, graphic arts and even pencil drawing — to relieve her chronic pain.
“It’s my release. It helps me get away from everything,” she said.
But Frankovsky shared Hill’s view of the added difficulty of working with oils, a necessity given the heavy wet and wintery work the plow shall soon see.
“I hate oil paints,” Frankovsky said. “I don’t like how they work. I prefer acrylics so much more,” she said.
“Paint the Plow” is a statewide outreach aimed at promoting winter driving safety and fostering appreciation for high school art programs, explained PennDOT District 4-0 safety press officer Michael S. Taluto.
Taluto said he didn’t know where PennDOT would deploy the plow but thanked the students for their hard work.
“We thank the students for doing the plows and we hope that they’ll participate again next year. It’s great to see them promoting a safety issue and to keeping people safe,” Taluto said.
Earlier this year, PennDOT invited high school students from the region to paint plow blades to emphasize the importance of slowing down during the winter, and on keeping a safe distance from plow trucks.
Teens from Hazleton Area High School, Pittston Area High School, Wallenpaupack Area High School, Blue Ridge High School and Susquehanna Community High School also participated in the program.
PennDOT’s website www.511pa.com features information on roadway conditions, travel speeds, and plow truck routes.