Carl Sferrazza, 17, of Bayside, N.Y. is a student of White House history who has sculpted four-inch clay figures of all 37 U.S. Presidents and their First Ladies—including the first and second wives of John Tyler and Woodrow Wilson. Carl copies facial expressions and clothing from official White House and Library of Congress portraits and photographs. His work has been exhibited in Federal Hall in New York City and was included in a Bicentennial film shown in Philadelphia. A senior at Benjamin Cardozo High School, Carl began creating his collection six years ago after reading a book about Warren Harding’s wife, Florence. “He spent all his time down in the cellar instead of playing outdoors,” moans his mother, a fashion student and housewife (Carl’s father is an architect). Carl made three sets of presidential figurines and has on occasion sent some of the former First Ladies their own likenesses. Though he has branched out into the theatrical world with figurines of Mae West and Carol Channing, Carl says, “The First Ladies will always have top priority.” His preoccupation with White House residents extends to collecting signatures and recipes, and he is currently working on a book about White House history he hopes to have published.
Bonnie Brodie, 28, is the city planner for Birmingham, Mich., a suburban community of 26,000 just north of Detroit. Her job is to supply research on zoning requests and development projects. “We have a lot of great new buildings, historic homes, a viable downtown,” she says. “It’s a very livable community, but we have a poor section, too.” She is a graduate of Wayne State University and the University of Miami in Coral Gables, where she earned a master’s degree in geography and urban studies. Her thesis was used by Broward County, Fla. planners to predict growth trends in the Fort Lauderdale area. Brodie, unmarried, says, “It is hard for a woman to become a planner because the building industries are traditionally male.” Bonnie, who grew up in Royal Oak, Mich., worked as assistant city planner in Birmingham for two and a half years before moving into the top job early this summer. She disdains auto-oriented cities like Los Angeles. “What a cut-up, mixed-up place,” she says. “The perfect place is where everything is on a pedestrian scale—no cars, no rush.” Her pet project is writing a preservation ordinance that will prevent fine old local buildings from being torn down. “I’m really for preserving things—animals, buildings, land,” she says. “And I’m an antique collector. I guess that sort of fits in, doesn’t it?”