The end of a tradition or the start of a new one?

Beloved mural painted over.


Mizuki (11)

The white wall, formerly adorned by a colorful mural, is by the middle school entrance.

Mizuki (11) and Theint Theint (11)

In 2006, a group of motivated seniors and juniors devoted their first week of summer break to planning and painting a mural. Without the Network of Sacred Heart Schools webpage to aid them, the students took the time to research the locations of each of our sister schools worldwide. They also looked at numerous maps and atlases to make the mural as accurate and detailed as possible. Mrs. Luttrell, who oversaw the painting, said it was a great way for graduating students to leave their mark on the school.

On August 20, our first day back at school, many students were shocked to be welcomed back by a white wall near the middle school entrance.

Serving as a constant reminder of the immense Sacred Heart network, the mural was viewed by the students as the only tangible connection to the rest of the Sacred Heart community. Darya (11) said, “the mural reminded me that there are so many people like us. So many sisters. We’re all sisters.” Hana (11) felt that the mural also reminded her of past Sacred Heart members and said, “so many students and teachers have left the school but that mural has always been there.” Many students were shaken as they believed that Sacred Heart had always been a school devoted to preserving tradition. A grade 11 student, who asked not to be named, said, “we don’t care whether the mural was chipped or dirty. We liked the comfort it gave us.”

The removal, however, ultimately came down to a need for renovation, a decision that students, as of now, have no say in . While the junior school building and high school entrance have been renovated in recent years, the middle school entrance had not seen any new changes. Mrs. Griffiths, the middle school principal, said, “The middle school entrance was not welcoming and was, instead, dark and faded. The paint was also chipping away and the stickers had started to come off. It was simply easier to paint over the mural than to try to repaint it.”

Some teachers, like Ms. Luttrell, felt closely connected to the mural and were very emotional upon hearing about its removal. “It was a white wall!” she said, recalling her discovery that the mural had been painted over. Mr. Hayes, a music teacher at Sacred Heart since 1993, said,“It was a part of my life for so long. It seemed to always be there.” A few teachers, however, were optimistic about the opportunity for a new mural to replace the old one. Mr. Felstehausen, the head of the Social Studies Department, said, “It’s unfortunate about the mural, but maybe it’s time for a new one.”

Administrators are open to proposals and student clubs, such as Room to Read, have shown interest in coming up with ideas for a new mural. Mrs. Griffiths said, “We will support the effort if it helps to create an environment that reflects our school goals or our relation to a grand network of schools.” Mr. Tootell, the head of the Creative and Performing Arts Department, suggested an upgrade. He said, “We should replace it with a proper world map with labels of the cities in which Sacred Heart schools are located.”

What remains of the mural.
Mizuki (11)
Little specks of the mural remain hidden under the white paint.