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Lacey Spring Students Decorate Duke Dog Statue

As part of James Madison University's year long centennial celebration, Lacey Spring students are participating in JMU's "Put Up Your Dukes" statue project. The project entails painting or decorating Duke Dog statues in unique ways. Lacey's patchwork statue is slated to be completed soon then will be displayed with all other mini-statues at the JMU New Century Banquet on March 15, 2008.

At left, Lacey Spring students and avid JMU fans Amanda and Joseph Nesselrodt, daughter and son of Amy and Mike Nesselrodt, admire their school's 2-foot statue entitled "Duke Dog Reads."

Art teacher, Mrs. Robin Goble, guides the students' painting efforts. She notes that all students who want to participate are given the opportunity. Older students do much of the actual painting while younger students contribute by putting their thumbprints on Duke Dog's belly.

Designed by Lee Leuning, the original sculptor of the huge one-ton Duke Dog statue that sits near Bridgeforth Stadium, each 10-pound statue is made of a surface that resembles fiberglass. The JMU project is similar to others conducted around the Commonwealth and beyond. Norfolk featured mermaid statues; Richmond initiated a "Go Fish" project with decorated fish statues situated around the city while Chicago sponsored its own herd of cattle in a "Cows on Parade" exhibit throughout the Windy City.

In an interview with the Daily News-Record shortly after announcing the project, Fred Hilton, JMU’s centennial director, explained the motivation for the "Put Up Your Dukes" centennial celebration initiative, "We want to have a lot of fun and get everybody involved on a level they’ll enjoy."

Following the March 15 banquet that concludes the centennial celebration, Lacey's "Duke Dog Reads" statue will be auctioned. Currently, other statues are found throughout Harrisonburg at local businesses and restaurants. All will be on display at the banquet.

On behalf of the LSES students, Mrs. Goble expresses thanks to Mrs. Nancy Lantz (RCPS Director of Federal Grants and Programs) and Mrs. Donna Robinson (Lacey Spring Elementary School Principal) who both coordinate the project with JMU. And all extend their sincere appreciation to the JMU Duke Club for its sponsorship of Lacey Spring's statue.

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