The Drachen Foundation welcomes the opportunity to work in schools outside its home base in Seattle, especially when presentations can be “piggybacked” with other events. Drachen staff members Renea Nielsen and Kiyomi Okawa took advantage of a trip to Washington D.C. to visit Glebe School in Arlington, Virginia on the Friday preceding the Smithsonian Kite Festival.
First-grade students, under the direction of Lynn Westergren, learn about kites each year in an Extended Learning Opportunity unit, and make Bug kites, designed by Robert Trépanier. This year the teachers enhanced the focus of their unit by hosting DF’s exhibit, About Kites, and also by inviting Renea and Kiyomi to test a workshop complementing their curriculum. Renea discussed images of Robert’s kites with the students, and displayed sample kites (decorated by Kiyomi), which incorporated the central vent in the Trépanier Trapezoid as a design element in a “fantastic face.” Students were then encouraged to bring their kites, and their families, to the Smithsonian Festival the following day.
On Saturday at the Smithsonian Festival, Renea and Kiyomi may have set a record—900 Trépanier Trapezoid kites in four hours! Kite makers of all ages mobbed the Drachen booth, and the trapezoid joined other shapes in the sky around the Washington Monument.