Nearly two years in the making, students, faculty and staff saw the finished EMS Centennial quilt at a chapel service on September 12, 2019, and shared in a prayer of dedication and blessing.
The quilt, 90 inches wide by 102 inches long, was created as part of the school’s centennial celebration during the academic year 2017-2018. EMS families donated 100 scraps of fabric in shades of blue for the project. The scrapes were pieced together with the EMS logo (updated in 2019) as the center design. Paul Lehman, head of school, joined in the fun, cutting up an old shirt for one of the squares. Several scraps of fabric came from overseas. Other material came from feedsack clothing worn by EMS students many years ago.
Librarian Julianne Burkholder ‘01 Ross coordinated the project and enlisted the expertise of Evie King for design and construction knowledge. Diana Suter ‘70 Berkshire and Sara Brennman ‘01 Halteman joined them to cut the squares and piece the top.
“This was such a beautiful project bringing together people from generations past to present,” said Diana Berkshire, alum, long-time volunteer and past employee. “Evie King was central to this project. And the fact that she could contribute cloth from dresses her sisters wore to school in the 1950s… that was remarkable.”
During the October 2017 Centennial Celebration Day, Evie King and Dorothy Logan taught students how to hand quilt. The quilt remained in the library for the school year, and students dropped by to add their stitches and watch the progress during study halls and after school.
On Quilting Day in May 2018, community quilter experts joined in throughout the day to quilt alongside students. The crowded quiltop included grandparents, past EMS teachers, current students and faculty, and quilters from area churches.
“This project drew together a wide cross section of our EMS community,” says Julianne Ross. “My dream for this quilt was to honor Eastern Mennonite’s 100 years of community through the Mennonite tradition of quilting. Quilting Day brought us together around the quilt to learn the art of hand stitching as well as to talk, laugh, share EMS memories, and be community together.”
The quilt will be hung in the EMS upper (middle and high school) building for future generations to enjoy. Guests to Homecoming Weekend will be among the first to see it.