Diversity in paint

SHS students paint murals in the halls of SHS to promote diversity as well as unity


Thian Awi

Last year students painted murals in the halls of SHS. They help show the diversity of the student body at SHS.

Walking down the halls of EL classrooms, eye-catching murals can be seen on both sides of the hallway. The murals help to represent all different countries here at SHS, totaling 22 diverse nations.

The projects were started in January 2019 and finished on the last day of the 2019-2020 school year. It was a combined effort sponsored by former SHS EL teacher Brianna Kompara and EL department chair Amy Peddie.

“Two people came up with the idea at the same time,” Peddie said. “Mrs. Kompara had asked Mr. Knight if she could have the kids paint a mural, but I had also planned on making it the project for my Lilly Teacher Creativity Grant.”

However, the design and most of the painting was done by students and art teacher Breanna Bierod. Peddie’s and Kompara’s classes were given the task to come up with designs that would best capture the cultures of SHS and the best designs were chosen by the administrators. 

The process started after designs were picked. SHS graduate Vanesa Aceves was one of the main painters of the murals. 

Thian Awi
Junior Calester Rem was a lead contributer to the design of the mural. It is meant to show how people from all different countries are united at SHS

“For the first mural, I help paint the countries but I didn’t do a lot on that mural,” Aceves said. “However, on the second mural, I did almost everything. I had some help from teachers and other students to help me and give me advice, but I did pretty much all of the second murals.”

Calester Rem and two other students came up with the idea for the first mural, the one with the SHS Cardinal and other countries. 

“My team and I only had a week to come with an idea, and we didn’t know what we wanted to draw at first,” Rem said. “We just drew random things, and we finally drew the Cardinal in the middle of the poster. We tried different things like flowers, but when I drew the Cardinal the eyes looked like a map. So, that’s how we came up with the idea.”

Rem started to draw different countries that are represented at SHS inside the Cardinal. She wanted her drawing to express the different cultures and identities in the school.

“I drew so it could represent all the immigrants from Southport and to show that we are all together in Southport and that we all belong,” Rem said. 

When painting the other mural, there were some challenges that Aceves faced. However, towards the end of the painting, the process wasn’t as difficult as in the beginning.

“In the beginning, when I had to put the design on the wall, that was hard because I had to get the proportions just right, and the mural wall was huge,” Aceves said. 

Aceves wanted to be involved in the process because she was also an immigrant to the U.S. and she wanted to participate in showing what immigrants represented at SHS were all about. 

She also feels very accomplished with the results of the murals. Aceves hopes that the murals she spent a lot of time on will help Americans realize the importance of immigrants.

“I am so proud of everything,” Aceves said. “The reactions from other people were very exciting. I also feel like more Americans should realize that America is surrounded by immigrants and that we are important to the country. If the murals help people realize that, I will be the proudest. ”