Although the 7th graders from both Gorton and Aldrich Junior High Schools will be going to a completely new school next year, they will be able to see one familiar thing on Vets walls that they can …
Although the 7th graders from both Gorton and Aldrich Junior High Schools will be going to a completely new school next year, they will be able to see one familiar thing on Vets walls that they can take pride and ownership in.
The two schools collaborated on a new ceramic mural that will be hung up at the super junior high school next year.
Alison Toronczak, the art teacher at Gorton, began thinking of how the two schools could come together before their first days at Vets early on in the year.
“I came up with this idea of bringing the schools together in a very visual but symbolic way,” Toronczak said. “Then they went to Vets I wanted students to have something they could recognize, something they could see and feel at home, to feel closer with the other students for.”
Toronczak partnered with Chris Seminara, an art teacher at Aldrich, and both received a lot of support from their respective administrations.
The design, created by Toronczak, features swirling mosaic circles, but each small square that makes up the larger image is actually a section of students’ footsteps, to show the classes, quite literally, merging together.
Each school recruited volunteers that encouraged students to imprint their footsteps into clay. At Gorton, select students volunteered their time at lunch to encourage other students to come up and make a print. At Aldrich Seminara took a day out of his 7th grade art classes to make the imprints.
“Our volunteers had a pivotal part in seeing this happen. They volunteered at lunch and after school. This wouldn’t have come together without them. This was really labor intensive,” Toronczak said.
Alongside getting the footprints of other students, those who volunteered also helped to measure, cut, glaze and put together all the mosaic pieces as well as creating decorative tiles to add.
The mosaic piece has a footprint tile from every student who wanted to participate. The majority of students are seventh graders that will move to Vets next fall.
Toronczak said that seventh graders were excited to be a part of the mural initiative and have something to look forward to at Vets, maybe even find their own footprint amongst the tiles.
Although it is still unsure where the mural will be hung, Jeff Taylor, Gorton principal, said, “Already these students have left a literal footprint on this school; they have started to make their mark. I think it’s perfect; the swirling idea also makes the mural look a bit like the Vets hurricane logo.”
Seminara, a long-term sub at Aldrich, said the mural is a “great way” to begin bringing the two schools together. The mural will be beneficial in that students will be able to feel some ownership and pride in their new school, seeing something they had a part in creating on the walls.
“This will act as a bridge bringing the two schools together,” he said.
The volunteers from Aldrich, all 8th graders, ironically, were Carlos Betancur, Janessa Clements, Casey Davenport, Jadyn Delayo, Courtney Foster, Vy Hoang, Kylee Howard, Bernice Li, Mya Nystrom, Jackson Vicino, Mackenzie Walsh, Anika Young, Akilah Young, Fallon Neves, Naleah Rodrigues and Amanda Slocum. At Gorton the two students that helped Seminara were Emanuelle Degas and Annabelle Sission.