Four Duncanville High School students in the National Art Honor Society spent nearly three months creating a Dr. Seuss mural at Daniel Intermediate School. The classroom is being transformed into a multipurpose game room as an incentive for students.
The idea began in December of 2020 when Daniel Intermediate School Principal Terrence Chase reached out to Duncanville High School to see if there were any volunteer opportunities for its students. Mr. Chase wanted to bring color to his campus and knew the high school art students had just the talent he was looking for.“It’s special for me because I used to work at the high school,” Mr. Chase said. “There’s so much talent over there. I wanted to find a way to bring that talent back to Daniel.”
Seniors Ashley Yanez, Kiara Smith, Grecia Herrera and Class of 2014 alumna Kiana Roberson started brainstorming ideas for murals that they thought the students at Daniel would enjoy. Duncanville High School art teacher Annette Valenzuela and her students ultimately decided on an illustration from the Dr. Seuss book ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’ There is a quote in the book that Ms. Valenzuela said could be inspiring to the younger students.
“I like the saying, ‘Kid, you’ll move mountains,’” Ms. Valenzuela said. “It means you can be strong, and I thought that was great.”
The art students were able to earn volunteer hours that go toward receiving a graduation cord. They volunteered their time
every Thursday after school for almost three months to complete the project. But after a couple of setbacks, including an unexpected 7-day closure last month due to the winter storm, they started working longer hours and more days to finish the mural by their deadline.
Grecia, who studies art history, doesn’t call herself an artist because she had never painted before. She wanted to take this opportunity not only to give back, but to challenge herself to learn a new skill.
“I wanted to try something new and open new opportunities to see if I could do it,” Grecia said. “I would do it again. If I do put in the work, it comes out nice.”
Ashley, Kiara and Grecia are all virtual learning students and said that working together on the mural has been a much needed creative outlet and a fun way to interact with each other.
“Seeing people from my class and actually talking to them gives me a different aspect of the type of people they are, and I really enjoyed it,” Grecia said.
Mr. Chase said he plans to surprise his students with the mural reveal and what the multipurpose room is going to be used for. He intends to add board games and an air hockey table as a way to motivate students to do well in class so they can have fun and play.
“I hope the kids really like it and that they’ll want to come to the room every day,” Ashley Yanez said.