VARDEN—Continuing to honor local veterans the Western Wayne School District unveiled a patriotic mural at its March Board of Directors business meeting.
Designed and painted by by High School art teacher Justin Hayden and students Rachel Butler, Katherine Moore, and Sabrina Sawyer, the work is expected to compliment the lobby of the recently christened Veterans Memorial Auditorium.
Titled “Service and Sacrifice,” the mural depicts numerous symbols of the United States Armed Forces presented on a background of the waving American flag.
“When we decided on the composition, we chose a triangular composition,” Hayden explained. “So we have the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima, the eagle, and the soldier too.”
Hayden added the triangular shape is constructed so that, “... the soldiers who are sacrificing in service to our country...” are supporting the eagle “...which is our liberty and our freedoms...”
Hayden later noted the soldier was left a white silhouette because, “We didn't want to pick a specific branch to represent.”
The art instructor further explained the figure was left as a vague representation of both race and gender so that “It could represent anyone. It could even be a firefighter or a police officer. We just wanted to recognize everyone.”
Lining the bottom of the triangular composition are the sigils for the five branches of the United States military.
“I did all the lettering for these emblems,” explained Butler. “And it was no easy task, I'll tell you that right now.”
Butler noted “...after all the time and hard work it took, I think it turned out great. As painful as it was, it's for our veterans, so it's nice to give back.”
Moore stated she also helped with the details on the branch symbols.
“I also helped with the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima,” she added, noting that “Rachel, Sabrina and I all have family members that are veterans, so it was a really nice honor to dedicate this to the auditorium as well.”
Sawyer explained she also worked on the Iwo Jima flag raising “...and then I painted the stripes and the shading.”
District Superintendent Matthew Barrett expressed gratitude to the students and Hayden noting, “It's quite an accomplishment. It's beautiful and it represents so much. We couldn't be prouder.”
“In collaboration with the American Legion and the Waymart Historical Society, we are working on a plan to fix this mural to the wall just outside the auditorium entrance for everybody to see as they enter,” said Barrett. “So that should be up in the next several weeks. We're just working on some final details and how we want that to look.”
Board President Bernice Fiorella noted the initial plan was to have a plaque affixed to wall, but Director Gary Enslin recommended the students hazard a chance at the artwork.
“I have to say I think this is so incredible,” said Fiorella. “No plaque could touch this because, when you look at it, you see a motion no plaque could really have.”
Fiorella added, “What you ladies did is something that will stay in the auditorium for a long, long time.”
Enslin stated he'd thought to have the students do it because a friend of his who was a former art teacher noted the district's art department is renowned for quality.
Said Enslin, “It's really very good.”
The Board also recognized the scholastic achievement of the two top-scoring students in each grade for the second marking period.
Principal's List awardees include:
• Grade 9—Rachel Tuman and Kaeli Romanowski;
• Grade 10—Leonard Maiocco III and Jamie Bryan;
• Grade 11—Kathryn Mattern and Marilyn Ogof;
• Grade 12—Vaeda Pontosky and Jillian Dudley.