flight 800 memorial coomittee oks design of
angel sculpture

By Joseph S. Yoder
Williamsport Sun-Gazette Staff, Williamsport, PA
Friday, March 12, 1999

Another milestone has been reached in the design and construction of a memorial for the 21 Montoursville Area High School French Club students and chaperones who died in the TWA Flight 800 tragedy.

The Montoursville Flight 800 Memorial Construction Committee gave its blessing Thursday night to the 8-foot angel that's being sculpted for the memorial.

The memorial will be built on the "Millstone" property between the high school gymnasium and Broad Street in Montoursville.

After a few finishing touches are made to the clay sculpture by artist James Barnhill of Greensboro, N.C., it will be sent to a foundry to begin the intricate two- to three-month process of being cast in bronze.

The finished product will be a hollow, 500- to 600-pound piece that Barnhill will truck here in time for dedication ceremonies July 17, the third anniversary of the air disaster.

Barnhill, an adjunct professor at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, was here Thursday to meet with the Flight 800 families and committee members. He also spoke to students.

He took a few moments from his hectic schedule to talk about the work, which was commissioned in November.

Barnhill said he's devoted four to six hours a day to the project, which is being crafted in the ceramics classroom at the university.

His students have watched the creative process unfold.

"It's been-two months of work, pretty much every day," he said.

The work began with the assembly of an armature of steel pipes and mesh over which the clay was applied.

Alterations have been made along the way. The' committee made suggestions, and upon reflection, Barnhill has made incremental changes of his own.