May 27, 2014

Mural at Golden Valley High School heralds campus’ 20th anniversary

The importance of character is highlighted in scenes throughout the student-conceived mural.

Golden Valley High School’s brand-new mural hanging in front of the administration building embodies many things: good character, teamwork, Valley landmarks and success.

The 64-square-foot mural was dedicated early Tuesday afternoon during brief ceremonies in the school quad. The mural was created through the ASSETs after-school program and embodies the six pillars of character stressed in the school’s Character Counts curriculum.

Local artist Ruben Sanchez, a lifelong Merced resident, blended the students’ concept drawings into the finished painting. During Christmas break, the students’ concepts were put together and painting began in March, winding up earlier this month.

Sanchez said the Golden Valley students were the best he has worked with in a long time. Students quietly started work on the mural, diligently pressing on despite the magnitude of the task.

Principal Constantino Aguilar said the mural is an outstanding display of student work, adding that the painting represented a tremendous commitment of time to complete.

Adelisa Coronado, Nikki Hang and Asmaa Mohamed were the principal painters on the project. Coronado said during the dedication that all the painters have a passion for art and the finished work is very special to them.

Golden Valley art teacher Gloria Benomar hopes everybody who sees the mural enjoys it. She said it took seven months to create the mural, from planning and drafting to the painting.

The mural project was a great way to finish off her high school years with something she could leave behind and be proud of, Coronado said.

“Through the process of creating this mural, I learned that a piece this large and special takes a lot of time and effort,” she said. “I just hope others will enjoy it as much as we enjoyed painting it.”

Last year, Coronado was involved in painting backdrops for the “Bye Bye Birdie” theatrical production. At first she didn’t think the mural would take much time, but admitted she was wrong.

“I think that the mural will be an inspiration in displaying the Character Counts as a result of being hung at the school,” Hang said. “I also think the school’s art program will be represented further.”

Mohamed said she became involved in the mural project because it was a great opportunity to help the community while doing something she loves.

“Through the process of creating this mural, I learned patience, patience, patience and whatever mistake you have done, it is not too late to fix it,” Mohamed said. “I also learned to collaborate with everybody and listen to other people’s ideas and opinions and respect them.”

In their collective description of the mural, the students said:

“Our mural was designed to represent many ideas. The mural represents our community, good character, our valley, school culture and success. Those ideas are portrayed throughout the mural. For example, good character and teamwork are displayed through the mountain climbers helping one another through the climb. Success is portrayed in the runner making her way to the finish line. The fields represent the continuous cycle of the valley’s changing seasons, slowly blossoming into mature trees with various fruits.”

Students said the mural’s bright colors represent the Character Counts campaign. Blue represents trustworthiness, yellow represents respect, green represents responsibility, orange represents fairness, red represents caring and violet represents citizenship.

“We wanted to give the message that we hold the future in our hands, which is why we painted the graduate student with the world placed on the palm of her hand. We believe that education and personal growth is the road to success,” the students wrote.

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