The online news for the students and staff at Somerset Berkley Regional High School

The Breeze

The online news for the students and staff at Somerset Berkley Regional High School

The Breeze

The online news for the students and staff at Somerset Berkley Regional High School

The Breeze

As a student run newspaper the Breeze expects readers to contact our editorial staff using the comment box below every story for all questions or concerns.
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Bringing a Wind Phone to Somerset Berkley

Ryan Rose
Audrey Sperling, Sadee Arruda, and Karis Botelho (from left to right) all work on creating a model of the wind phone to be built. The real wind phone will be about 7 feet tall and 4 feet wide.

For a little over a month now, Somerset Berkley students have been working on an exciting new project that aims to bring our local community together and assist individuals in dealing with loss. Students who have taken Ms. Bowers’ ceramics classes here at Somerset Berkley Regional High School have been using their Blue Raider Block time to work together on creating a “wind phone” that will benefit both our school and local community.


The idea for this project first came to Ms. Bowers when she was listening to NPR’s All Things Considered and heard the story behind the invention of wind phones. In Japan in 2010, Itaru Sasaki was struggling to deal with the loss of his cousin who died of cancer. One of the ways that he was able to cope with this loss was by purchasing an old-fashioned telephone booth and creating a “wind phone” in his personal garden. Sasaki placed a rotary phone in this booth, but did not connect it to any type of phone line. Instead, Sasaki would use the phone to symbolically dial his cousin’s phone number and speak to his cousin, giving him the opportunity to say things that he felt were left unsaid before. 


Wind phones grew in popularity in 2011, shortly after Japan experienced a devastating tsunami that resulted in the loss of loved ones for many. Sasaki was able to find and salvage his wind phone and relocated it to Bell Gardia, a garden in Japan. As people who struggled with loss after Japan’s tsunami began to use the wind phone more and more, Sasaki’s invention grew in popularity. Eventually, travelers from around the world began to visit the wind phone in order to connect with their loved ones and cope with the feeling of loss.


This story inspired Ms. Bowers and she felt that the Somerset Berkley community could benefit from such an invention. The story made Ms. Bowers think back on 2020 and all of the loss of life that came as a result of the coronavirus. She reflected on recent losses amongst Somerset Berkley faculty and students and thought more about the losses that we all may be experiencing in our personal lives, whether it be the loss of a friend, a family member, or even a pet. Ms. Bowers explained how loss can be such a challenging thing to deal with “and sometimes people carry that sadness or that loss quietly with them. They don’t know how to express it.” Using a wind phone is one way that people in our community can start or continue to express their feelings towards loss. As Ms. Bowers put it, “what a wonderful gift we could give to Somerset Berkley.”


Ms. Bowers told The Breeze that there are around 150 wind phones all across the United States, one of which is in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. Ms. Bowers visited this wind phone and came up with a plan. Ever since, her students have been collaborating with each other during Blue Raider Block to create pieces of pottery to sell in order to raise money for the wind phone, to develop a model of what said wind phone would look like, to create presentations about their work and goals, and to create artifacts that will be present in the completed project.


When I arrived in Ms. Bowers’ classroom to interview her and her students on the project that they were working on, Anya Kanalski and Mia Gentile were working together putting strings through flower pockets that they and their classmates have been working on that will be on sale in a local fundraiser to support the wind phone. Students have also created a variety of mugs and plates that will also be for sale soon. On Friday, March 1st, the faculty of Somerset Berkley will have access to a flash sale of these products in the art gallery. Shortly after that, members of the community will be able to purchase these students’ work at Auclair’s Market, where cashiers will hold onto cash or checks made out to the Somerset Berkley Education Foundation that will also be going towards the wind phones. The raised funds will be used to hire The Lilac Thief, a local botany company, to construct the wind phone.

Ms. Bowers shows off one of the flower pockets that Anya Kanalski (right) and Mia Gentile (center) are working to create. (Ryan Rose)


Nearby Anya and Mia were three students –Karis Botelho, Audrey Sperling, and Sadee Arruda– who were all collaborating on a model of the wind phone. They let me know that the wind phone, when completed, would have a nest-like structure that was designed to be comforting for individuals who visit it. Karis Botelho informed me that the team “wants to incorporate more greenery and plant plants around it once it’s built.” It is Audrey Sperling’s hope that this natural and comforting looking wind phone will “provide closure for people who have gone through a loss and help them open up about their feelings.” The model that these students were working on will be used in a proposal for getting approval to build the wind phone.


Just behind these students working on the model, Drew McGarry, James Doucette, and Kaven Dos Santos were all working together on creating a presentation that will be given on Monday, March 4th to a group of guests who have come to speak about wind phones with Ms. Bowers’ team of students. Drew let me know that the presentation that they were working on explained “the steps of how to make the mugs that we are selling at Auclair’s” and “provides visual aids as well.” The guest speakers will be talking about their experiences with loss and also with wind phones.


My visit to Ms. Bowers’ classroom ended with a showing of all the work that students have been working on for this project in the past few weeks. While students will be selling mugs, plates, and flower pockets for their fundraiser, they have also created a variety of stones that will be present in the wind phone once it is completed. The stones all have different intricate designs and some feature letters on them; these letters can be used to spell out the names of loved ones, create positive messages, or to hold onto when communicating with lost loved ones. Visitors of the wind phone are invited to use the stones when present at the wind phone itself or even take them home with them. Examples of all of these students’ work can be found in the gallery below.


Ms. Bowers and her students have been working quickly to get this exciting project moving along and they’ve been making great progress. It is hoped that the sale at Auclair’s will be coming sometime soon and for updates on this project, you can follow @bowpotterysbrhs on Instagram. To learn more about wind phones, be sure to check out, a site created by Itaru Sasaki detailing his project and what wind phones are used for.


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About the Contributor
Ryan Rose, Editor and Social Media Manager
Ryan is currently in his senior year at Somerset Berkley Regional High School and this is his third year as a member of The Breeze, where he will serve as this year's editor and social media manager. He is also a member of Model UN here at Somerset Berkley. Outside of school, he can often be found either reading a book or practicing the ukulele and piano.  Ryan is also heavily interested in politics and volunteered for the Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign.

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