The rotunda in the main hallway of Springfield High School has been transformed into a visual representation of the diversity of the school’s students.
On Friday, SHS students completed a mural project that represents the diverse student population, from ethnicity to special needs and beyond. A female and male face, which represent the student body, float at the bottom of the mural, with ideas and symbols of diversity spanning up to the ceiling.
The mural surrounds the phrase “The home of scholars and champions,” and the words unity, diversity, perseverance and pride are atop four pillars that anchor the design of the mural
The symbols and words of the mural were all chosen through a collaboration of different disciplines and classrooms at the school. Art students submitted sketches of symbols, English classes brainstormed key words that they wanted to represent the diversity of the art piece and music and special education classes also offered suggestions.
Artist Sherry Ringler helped infuse students’ choices of ideas into a cohesive mural. Project Jericho and SHS staff supervising the project believe the students are embracing the art as a symbol of unification.
“I’ve overheard students just walking by who haven’t been involved in the project talking about it as if they were a part of the painting,” said Georgette Rasor, a special education supervisor. “Students have a sense of ownership of its idea.”
A core group of 60 students worked daily to put together the mural over the past three weeks. But a large part of the student body literally got to put its hands in the action — a portion of the mural is composed of the fingerprints of all the senior students and SHS staff.
“The mural makes me feel proud because we all worked as a team to complete it,” said Kevin Ramirez, 15, a junior at SHS.
Project Jericho, a collaborative program between the Clark State Performing Arts Center and Job and Family Services of Clark County, teamed up with SHS to help coordinate and design the large‐scale mural, which is more than 19 feet tall and wraps around the hallway rotunda. Lauren Houser, the Project Jericho mural coordinator, oversaw the entire operation and said students worked around the clock, and even on the weekends, to finish the mural.
The Springfield City School District and its special education department funded the project, with the help of money and supplies donated by several local organizations and businesses. One of them, 800 Paint Place in Springfield, donated all of the paint used for the mural. Sunbelt Rentals provided a scissor lift so that students could paint up high on the walls, Houser said.
Planning for the mural began in early January and students began painting the walls the second week of March. After three weeks of hard work, the final touches were made Friday afternoon.
The mural will be officially dedicated in a ceremony in May.