“I really loved it so much,” said Simon, a senior at Carrboro High School. “The organization that I did it through does similar projects here once or twice a year, so after I got back I really wanted to make this happen whether it be in my school or in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro area.”
Simon said the students took many steps in order to get the project started, including sending out a survey to students that would allow for the muralists to get a better idea of what to paint.
“We started a few months ago and sent out our first survey over email and we weren’t really getting enough responses,” she said. “So we printed out the surveys and gave them to all the students in their English classes.”
Simon said they reached to a wide variety of groups at the school, such as professional education classes and the journalism club.
“When the muralists were actually here, they spent the first day that they were here going around to different classrooms of a variety of subjects,” she said. “A lot of them were Spanish classes so the students had the opportunity to practice Spanish with them.”
There are two wings of the school each with its own mural and each one represents something different but related to Carrboro High School, Simon said.
“One mural on one wing of the school represents the ‘now’ of some of the issues that are in our lives now and scenes that are relevant like ones with global warming or our connection through technology,” she said.
Simon said the second mural portrays the student-teacher relationship, with a bounty of fruit in the middle that represents diversity, all meant to portray a hopeful future.
John Hite, a teacher at Carrboro High School, also played an integral role in bringing the project to life.
“I’ve been working hand-in-hand with Leah for about a year to approach the principal and ask about this and then go to the school improvement team,” he said. “It was a mutual affair and not just me.”
Hite said through this project the school hopes to raise funds for Dominican Republic Water Project, which is aimed at bringing clean drinking water to the region that the mural artists are from.
“Instead of having muralists come here and help us to create something beautiful, we hope to reciprocate as well,” he said.
“We’re planning on making cards to sell with pictures of the mural and that money will go towards the fundraiser.”
Simon said that a little over $1,000 has been raised for the organization.
Jeff Nash, spokesman for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools, said the murals would allow Carrboro High School to create its own impact on the community.
“Carrboro High School is our newest high school in our district and so they have not had quite as long to build traditions as Chapel Hill High and East Chapel Hill High,” he said.
“It’s real neat for them to be able to get something that kind of marks their school and what’s important to the students there.”