Capstone project honors beloved teacher


Courtesy of Joe Kall

In loving memory– Senior Joe Kall works on creating a memorial bench in memory of the late Department Leader of Library, Media and Technology K-12 Martha Burr. Kall completed the bench as part of his Custom Capstone project.

Hollis Tharpe, Staff Writer

For his Custom Capstone project, senior Joe Kall created a memorial bench and garden to honor the late Department Leader of Library, Media and Technology K-12 Martha Burr.

“[Kall] loves construction and wanted to do something worthwhile in for the community with that. He also has created a memorial garden where he’s going to be planting flowers” Capstone Coordinator Kelly Stokoe said.

Burr was hired as an English teacher in Farmington in 1997, having been previously employed by Hanover High School in Hanover, NH and Valley Regional High School in Deep River, CT. Before taking on her role in the literacy and technology, Burr was an English and journalism teacher at the high school. Burr was also recognized for her work by being named Teacher of the
Year in 2014.

Remembering her was one of Kall’s main goals throughout the project.

“I wanted to do something for the community. I wanted to do something for Mrs. Burr so that the staff and students could remember her,” Kall said.

Hollis Tharpe

Kall worked all year planning and constructing his final product with help from his capstone advisor Jeff Daddio.

“My role was just as a facilitator. Along with [Kelly] Stokoe and [Joel] Nick, we tried to help Joe make the connections necessary for a successful completion of this project. Joe had to communicate with our faculty his desire to make this bench and the lack of funding, [and] he worked with Dr. Silva and Head Custodian Vic Michaud on the details and placement of the bench. Joe worked with applied arts teachers Jeff Teravainen and Jim Corrigan on the actual construction. It really took an entire team of people backing Joe for this project. The capstone teachers just tried to assist in making these connections whenever needed,” Daddio said.

Kall worked with Burr’s family to decide what Burr would have wanted, eventually leading him to decide on building a memorial bench.

Faculty and staff members look forward to seeing the completed bench upon its placement.

“I am looking forward to seeing it and visiting the bench so that it can be a tangible reminder of her impact and legacy at Farmington High. It will be comforting to those of us who were close to her and those who weren’t as well,” English teacher Tracey Barlow said.

Kall’s bench and garden will most likely be located near the student entrance so that it can be seen by as many people as possible, but the location is still to be determined.