CHHS students sad to see science wing murals go

CorrespondentAugust 13, 2013 

— Most students aren’t thinking about school hallways in the summertime.

After learning that many of the murals in Chapel Hill High School’s Science Hall were painted over, however, some students and alumni have expressed disappointment and concern.

According to new principal Sulura Jackson, the schools’ administrators and science teachers worked together on a plan to scale back murals on the Science Hall walls. The decision was made July 19, and the murals were painted over a week later. There are no plans to remove murals in any other parts of the school, she said.

A number of students and alumni are disappointed they didn’t get any notice or explanation.

Arun Ganesh, a June graduate, says many students learned of the murals removals through a video of the painted-over walls posted on Facebook. Ganesh said two murals he had painted for his AP Physics and AP Chemistry classes were among those removed.

“I was disappointed,” he said. “It felt kind of like an insult because every student puts a lot of time and effort into those murals; many even work on them outside of class time and buy their own supplies.”

Though he knew his murals would eventually be painted over to make room for the work of future students, Ganesh was surprised they vanished so soon. When school starts up again, the hallway will be “a lot more dreary,” he said

Danner Morrison, a rising senior, has some of the same concerns. While he hasn’t painted a mural himself, he thinks they add character and spirit to the school.

“I really wish that the school had communicated with the school community and engaged in more of a dialogue on this matter before painting over those murals,” he said.

According to Ganesh and Morrison, mural painting is an end-of-year tradition at CHHS. Many teachers of Advanced Placement classes, they say, allow their students to paint murals related to the class’s subject area as a final project.

Ganesh’s mural for his AP Chemistry class provides an example. The chemistry mural was based on a comic by Bill Amend (the writer of “FoxTrot”) and featured a joke about the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. (Ganesh’s teacher received permission from the comic before the mural was painted.) It took Ganesh and his group about a week to complete the project, but he says some groups spent even more time on their murals.

Jackson said she is unsure about how many murals were painted over and also cannot say for sure when the removed murals were originally painted by students. She says new murals will be allowed to take the places of those that were painted over.

“The CHHS administrative team will collaborate with the science teachers to develop guidelines to continue the learning opportunity and extend this opportunity to other science students,” she wrote via e-mail.

Nelson: aan2118@columbia.edu

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