By STEPHANIE BERNABA Edgewood Highland Elementary School fifth-graders are turning rain into sunshine. They have chosen, with the help of their art teacher and 5th Grade Mural Club leader, Ellen Laprocina, to create a mural on one of the school's walls
Edgewood Highland Elementary School fifth-graders are turning rain into sunshine.
They have chosen, with the help of their art teacher and 5th Grade Mural Club leader, Ellen Laprocina, to create a mural on one of the school’s walls representing life during and after COVID-19.
The students sought to visually express feelings of sadness they experienced at the height of the pandemic and juxtapose them with the joy they will experience once the pandemic has ended for good.
Though students, staff and faculty have still worn masks and socially distanced inside the school, members of the Mural Club are hopeful about the possibility of re-entering school in the fall without fears or restrictions.
Fifth-graders Evelyn Norigian, Aaliyah Leger and Crystalia Patrocino are excited, as they explained, to “leave their mark on the school” before moving onto Park View Middle School in the fall.
“I want to show people my art,” Mural Club member Briana Fondeur said.
The mural, comprised of two separate paintings, depicts a gray, rain-filled scene representing the sadness and isolation of the pandemic, next to a bright, inviting scene including smiling students and a rainbow.
The Mural Club is comprised of 12 fifth-graders. The group was broken in half, allowing each group to focus on one of the paintings.
The people in the murals represent the students who participated in the project. By painting representations of themselves, Laprocina explained, they can find their likenesses inside the art for years to come.
Laprocina explained that the choice of topic for this mural was an emotional one.
“The hardest thing was not seeing their friends,” Laprocina said of her students at the height of the pandemic. “They missed school. They missed the comfort of regular daily life.”
She added: “I wanted to give them a voice and a way to express that.”
Laprocina explained that during a walk around the school to view previous murals, the Mural Club took an interest in a ’60s-themed piece featuring The Beatles. The students were so intrigued by the band, they began discussing their career and playing a few of their songs.
When the group heard “Here Comes the Sun,” she explained, both she and her students agreed it would be the perfect theme for their mural. The students then painted lyrics from the song into the mural.
Edgewood Highland Principal Marlene Gamba explained just how significant this year’s mural theme has ended up being.
“One of the ways to express yourself or really get through anything is through the arts,” she said. “Our best pieces of work are created around tragedy.”
Though the mural is usually tied to an end-of-the-year show, this year, due to ever-changing circumstances and COVID restrictions, the school was unable to hold one. Laprocina explained that students and faculty felt sad about missing the opportunity, but are looking to next year to resume the tradition.
Fifth-graders, including those who helped to create the murals, graduated from Edgewood Highland Elementary on Monday, June 21. They were very excited for the entire school community to see their work.