Image of hope

Image+of+hope+

Katie Rippe

Seventy-two separate student-drawn pieces create a patriotic mural entitled “Images of Hope, Pieces of the Whole.”  The mural remembers the terrorist attacks that shocked the world 12 years ago. The 9/11 memorial has decorated the white school walls adjacent to the Main Office, neighboring the Industrial Technology hallway, since Oct. 11, 2001.

Mrs. Theresa Long, art teacher, was the conductor behind the symphony of glue and colored pencils. With her sister working in the second World Trade Center Tower and other siblings working in Washington D.C., the topic hit close to home.

“I was not just concerned for our nation but for my sister,” Mrs. Long said. “My classes and I decided we could not make a difference in New York, but we could make a difference in our community. So we did.”

Trying to pull the separate pieces of the floor to ceiling mural together was not an easy task; Mrs. Long and her students were not the only ones involved in perfectly fitting each puzzle piece.

“I went to the math teachers for their help. Mrs. Mary Wisdom [Math Department chair] did all of the calculations for me,” Mrs. Long said. “Then some of the world language teachers and students helped us translate the various sayings and quotes into French, German and Latin. Some sign language students helped with the hand gestures so we could spell out what we wanted to. P.E. teachers helped hang the black sheet when we unveiled our work. The whole project symbolized us cooperating and collaborating. It was amazing to see everyone come together.”

The scale of the project required more materials than were on hand.

“I visited every single Michael’s in a 30-mile radius to find the perfectly matching shades of red and blue,” Mrs. Long said. “We used what seemed to be gallons of glue to fit everything together. We had fundraisers to pay for the Plexiglas and the plaque. Afterwards journalists began to come to get their perfect shot. I realized it was a lot bigger than my class and I.”

The St. Louis Post Dispatch printed the collaborative drawing on their front page, the City Museum displayed the art in their building and Eureka first responders were at the unveiling just after returning from New York City.

“It was a huge blessing to have everyone recognize it and to know we had an impact,” Mrs. Long said. ”Maybe not in New York, but we did in Eureka, and that means a lot.”