Teachers, students complete mural at Whispering Oak

The mural is representative of different aspects of the school.

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  • | 12:30 p.m. October 17, 2018
Whispering Oak art teachers Dana Christopher, left, and Vivian Alfonso proudly pose by the school’s new mural.
Whispering Oak art teachers Dana Christopher, left, and Vivian Alfonso proudly pose by the school’s new mural.
  • West Orange Times & Observer
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Whispering Oak Wildcats and their parents might have noticed new work of art upon entering the school from the car-rider area.

The school’s art teachers, Dana Christopher and Vivian Alfonso — with the help from some students — have painted a mural in the hallway of one of the main entrances to the school. 

“We wanted to have something visual for the students to see when they came into the building,” Christopher said. “I saw this (mural design) on the internet and thought it was cool, so we just kind of made it our own as far as what we wanted to include in it.”

The mural depicts numerous silhouettes walking toward the entrance to the school. Each silhouette depicts a different aspect of the school — such as science and technology, art, and physical education. 

“What the mural kind of represents is all the different aspects that are here at the school,” Principal Kip Montgomery said. “If you look at the mural, it has students at play, it has rainy-day students … you have an administrator or teacher checking a laptop (representing) the technology and then Willy the Wildcat, our mascot, and they’re all walking into the school.”

Christopher and Alfonso didn’t paint the mural alone. They had help from some fifth-grade students. In total, the mural took 25 hours to complete and was painted over a course of about three to four weeks, they said.

“We had a variety of fifth-graders who we chose based on their hard work during the school year and their ability level — somewhat — to be able to accomplish painting a mural like this,” Christopher said.

The mural was painted to help beautify the campus, and the theme of it is unity, Montgomery said.

“We had a lot of empty space where we could put something that represented the school, something that people would see and go, ‘Wow,’ (and) stop and reflect,” Montgomery said. 

“Our art teachers — Ms. (Dana) Christopher and Ms. (Vivian) Alfonso — got together and thought about different designs, and we wanted it to be school-based with school kids kind of representative of the school,” Montgomery said.

Alfoso said students have enjoyed the school’s artistic addition.

“(Students) have had a positive reaction,” Alfonso said. “(The mural) means what our school represents. It represents all our subject areas and that school is a place of excitement and learning, of art, music and physical education.”

Before the mural was painted, the wall had nothing on it at all, Montgomery said.

“It was just a blank wall — just empty space,” he said. “It was just sterile. You walk out, and it (was) just like a hospital corridor. You travel (down the hall), and it’s just stairs on one side and this white wall. We just kept looking on it and we were like, ‘We need to put something there.’ Something bright. Something that’s kind of cheerful … but also is reflective. We didn’t want to just stick up a big decal or Willy the Wildcat poster or something.”

To further beautify the school, Montgomery said more murals could be coming in the future.

“We’ve talked about putting some more in some different spots, but we had to start (somewhere) to see how that works,” Montgomery said. “It’s been positive, and there’s definitely areas (on campus) we can enhance.”


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