Leechburg Area art students create custom birdhouses for local business

Leechburg Area art students create custom birdhouses for local business

Some lucky birds are about to score colorful new digs, thanks to recent creative artwork by students at Leechburg Area High School.

The Birdhouse Project is the latest project from high school art teacher Shayle Prorok. Six students designed and painted birdhouses last month.

The houses will be donated to Cook Medical in Parks Township. Birdhouses at Cook were installed in May.

Joseph Felschow, corporate social responsibility representative at Cook, said birds moved into the birdhouses right away.

“Blackbirds, robins and even a few cardinals moved in within days. We’re proud to have the birdhouses here on our campus displayed and inhabited by local wildlife,” he said.

Leechburg Area art students create custom birdhouses for local business

Joyce Hanz | Tribune-Review

Cook Medical in Parks Township


Helynn Gazda, a junior, went whimsical with her design.

“I was inspired by fairy houses and pictures of fantasy worlds,” Gazda said. “I loved doing this project. It’s going to a good cause, and I’m happy I was able to be involved.”


Joyce Hanz | Tribune-Review

Leechburg Area High School art student Helynn Gazda designed a fairy-themed birdhouse that will be donated to Cook Medical in Parks Township, part of the art department’s Birdhouse Project.


Students worked on the birdhouses for several weeks, using acrylic paint and then sealing them to make them weather resistant.

Eliza Trusiak, a sophomore, choose a popular dessert to adorn her birdhouse.

“It’s an ice cream theme. I thought it would look cute on the campus and at Pink Day,” Trusiak said. “My art style isn’t usually this cutesy, but it was a fun and interesting project.”

Prorok implemented the project two years ago, donating six birdhouses to Cook. The new houses will make for a total of 12 birdhouses donated.

“They’re looking at us to make more birdhouses every couple of months,” Prorok said of the ongoing project.

Students from the technical education department made each wooden birdhouse.

“This project is completely in-house,” Prorok said. “It’s important from a community standpoint for people to be able to see what goes on in our classroom. These birdhouses are visible outside. It helps the students develop a bit of community pride.”

Felschow said Cook partnered with Leechburg Area School District in an effort to showcase student talent.

“Giving back to the places where we live is one of the seven values Cook encourages employees to have,” Felschow said. “We focus on community health, youth education, and our social enterprise as our social responsibilities as a corporation.”

Jasa Oliver, a senior, gave a nod to her Ukrainian heritage with her design.

“The flowers on top are based on Ukrainian folk patterns and on both sides are the Ukrainian coat of arms,” Oliver said. “The front of the birdhouse features a sunflower, Ukraine’s national flower.”


Joyce Hanz | Tribune-Review

A Ukranian-themed custom birdhouse painted by Leechburg Area High School art student Jasa Oliver, a senior.


The words written in Ukrainian on Oliver’s birdhouse translate to “Glory to Ukraine.”

Superintendent Tiffany Nix said having students’ artwork on display in the local community is a win-win proposition.

“Our partnership with Cook Medical is truly a gift to our school. It’s wonderful to have a local business that is so supportive and inclusive to our students, staff and curriculum,” Nix said.

Three of the birdhouses are very pink.

“My inspiration was to bring awareness to breast cancer, and I was happy to provide a house for a bird,” said freshman Sophia Charles.

The birdhouses were on display at Pink Day, a breast cancer research fundraising event, held Saturday in Leechburg.

Junior Azlynn Banichar incorporated Cook’s branding for her creation.

Banichar painted green four-leaf clovers along with pink ones to represent breast cancer awareness and the partnership with Cook.

Ryleigh Zamperini used wooden Popsicle sticks, stones and pebbles for her birdhouse, individually placing each one to make shingles and a roof.

“My theme was an abandoned cottage. The birdhouse was challenging, but I loved every bit of it,” Zamperini said.

Joyce Hanz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joyce by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

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