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Sculptor hopes to educate Houston-area students with Booker T. Washington statue

Bridgette Mongeon has sculpted works locally and internationally and is creating a sculpture of Brooker T. Washington for the Independence Heights HS

HOUSTON — History has a way of making things seem “larger than life.” Then again some figures really are.

“’Success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome while trying to succeed’… a quote from Booker T. Washington," reads Bridgette Mongeon.

Inside her Kentwood Manor studio, Mongeon molds that history with her hands.

“They learn – for themselves – not just about the person but about the essence and what they stood for," Mongeon says.

This statue of American author, educator and civil rights leader Booker T. Washington is fittingly destined for the HISD high school that bears his name. This project, with funds from Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee, has been in the works for some time but was halted by the pandemic. 

“Now it’s revamped up and we’re really excited about it… we’re really excited it’s going to be finished," Mongeon says.

The process for all of her sculptures is an education in itself, involving processes like 3-D printing. It’s why this sculpture is also part of a project that puts the “Art” in S.T.E.A.M.

“It’s looking at math through the art eyes, it’s looking at engineering through the art eyes… and it’s how it all is woven together," Mongeon says.

Every detail recreating history that his statue will help ensure is never forgotten.

“I know a lot more about Booker T. and feel like I’ve really known him by creating him," Mongeon says.

The next step in the sculpture process is cutting Booker T. into pieces then making molds so he can be cast into bronze.

If all goes as planned, Bridgette says the statue could be ready to be placed at the high school late this year or early next year.

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