Four students will help the whale tail fountain make its debut

In this file photo, Chip Jahn and John Pezzetta, of Haynes Materials, the general contractor for the Parade project, lay new pavers around the whale tail sculpture/fountain last October. Saturday is the day set for the water to start flowing at the fountain.
In this file photo, Chip Jahn and John Pezzetta, of Haynes Materials, the general contractor for the Parade project, lay new pavers around the whale tail sculpture/fountain last October. Saturday is the day set for the water to start flowing at the fountain.

New London - Four elementary school students have been chosen to start the water flowing for the new whale tail fountain in the Parade Plaza.

About noon on Saturday, after the Hope Week Parade, the students will hit a pseudo switch while city workers underground actually turn on the water.

Adeliz Cordero of Jennings School, Malik Faulkner of Nathan Hall, Lashya Lapoint of Winthrop and Tian Richardson of Harbor School were selected for the honor.

The Custom House Maritime Museum held a fundraiser, selling nearly $1,000 in tickets for a chance to be the one to turn on the water for the sculpture.

New London resident Bruce Hyde, the former planning director of the city, who was instrumental in getting the $10 million Parade renovation project off the ground, had the winning ticket. He asked that schoolchildren be designated in his place, according to Susan Tamulevich, museum director.

She said the audience that was on hand when Hyde's name was picked was stunned. Hyde's position in the city was eliminated before the project was completed. A number of people had bought raffle tickets and submitted Hyde's name, Tamulevich said. "No one could believe it, and then everyone laughed," she said. "It was poetic justice.''

Hyde asked that each elementary principal select a student who is an "unsung" hero, someone who stands out in terms of good citizenship, good behavior, good attendance and is well liked by his or her peers.

"I think it's going to be a fun day,'' Tamulevich said.

The whale sculpture was supposed to be working last June, but problems with drainage kept the fountain dry for nearly a year.

k.edgecomb@theday.com

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