Replica of Fourth Ward adorns White House Red Room |

Replica of Fourth Ward adorns White House Red Room

Jeff Munson

VIRGINIA CITY – A replica of the historic Fourth Ward School – built by six Virginia City High School students – has been chosen to go on display at the White House in Washington, D.C., this Friday.

As part of the traditional White House holiday tour, First Lady Hillary Clinton will pay tribute to the Fourth Ward School replica, as well as other projects with themes that focus on the nation’s history.

School officials were notified last month that the replica had been accepted for display at the White House. The invitation came three months after the school was invited to participate in the holiday decoration program.

“We are honored to be invited to submit an artist’s rendition of the Fourth Ward School for display at the White House,” said Darlene Cobbey, chairwoman of the Fourth Ward School board of trustees. “It is quite a thrill to picture the Fourth Ward School in our nation’s capitol.”

The project began in mid-August after the school received the invitation. The school is one of 62 projects nationwide designated as an “American Treasure” by the White House Millennium Council.

Undertaking the project were six Virginia City High School drafting students and teacher Ric Shrank. For 10 weeks the students worked on the replica by first drafting a model of the school, and then building it using balsa wood and other materials.

The project was complicated because strict attention to detail was essential, Shrank said. The students had to determine such features as scale and scope, and intricate features such as color and textures. The completed model – about the size of a shoe box – is mounted on an oak base, with a bronze plaque naming the students who built it.

“This was one of the hardest things I have ever worked on,” said Virginia City student Shae Strasser. “The people who built the real Fourth Ward School must of had a lot of hard work in front of them in 1876.”

Jessica Schaur, an 11th-grader, shared Strasser’s sentiment.

“This was really cool. I was in a commercial that was filmed at the Fourth Ward School when I was in the fourth grade. It’s neat that I got to be a part of this project.”

Other project builders: John Herrington, Stephen Rose, Miguel Alvarez and Derek Sherman.

To be recognized by the White House has made the project worthwhile, said Shrank, who plans to attend the reception in Washington, D.C.

“This was a once-in-a-lifetime event in my teaching career,” Shrank said. “The students are quite excited that our work passed the Smithsonian authenticity test and will go on display at the White House.”