By Helen Zeidman and Carly Guise
Editor-in-Chief and Junior Editor-in-Chief
For years, the walls of the high school have been missing something.
In that time, many students and staff members have commented on the lack of color, particularly in one of the wings most recently built, the D200’s. This year, social studies teachers Mr. Calvin Vanada and Mr. Sam Cooley decided to change that.
“Over the years, we’ve looked outside to our hallways and we’ve seen nothing but blank, block walls,” Mr. Cooley, American and Local History teacher, said. “As time has passed on, we saw more people coming into the building, and then the local history class was started, and we got an idea in our heads.”
The idea was to bring Red Lion history to life on the walls of the high school through a series of murals that would eventually create a timeline throughout the hallways.
The first mural features the train station that was essential to Red Lion life in the late 19th century. With the arrival of the train came furniture and cigar goods, the latter of which eventually became the town’s staple.
“It was like the spark that put our town on the map,” Mr. Cooley said. “That small train station could get us down to Peachbottom in Maryland, or it could get us into York… People could hop on the train, even though it wasn’t a passenger train, and they could find work here every day.”
While the station had a large impact on the history of Red Lion, there are also several other parts of town history that have the potential to also be made into murals in the future.
Students and teachers who are collaborating on the project could choose to go back even farther in time to feature the town’s agricultural roots with rolling hills and farmland, or they could move forward and portray the industry side of Red Lion with the factories that funded the school system and community churches.
They could also choose to illustrate the economic, educational, or environmental sides of Red Lion and its surrounding communities, like Winterstown or Windsor.
The end goal is to create a visual timeline that students and community members alike can learn from.
A group of students, many of whom belong to National Art Honor Society, have been tasked with the painting of the first mural.
“Painting a mural is different than painting a canvas. Drawing something really large takes a different skill set than something smaller,” Ms. Kelly McBrien, NAHS adviser and art teacher, said. “The teamwork effort makes things go much faster. They have to collaborate.”
With the end of the school year quickly approaching, teachers are looking to continue the project into the coming years with Mr. Vanada and Mr. Cooley’s idea of a mural committee.
“Our group right now has a mix of all grade levels, which is nice because it gives an overlap,” Mr. Cooley said. I believe the idea that the creation of a mural club or a local history club would open up the opportunity more people to get involved and that’s ultimately what we want.”
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