Grade 8 Student Unveils Diversity Mural

As the capstone experience of her Middle School Fellowship in Creativity, Grade 8 student Lauren ‘21 presented her diversity mural, titled “Stand”, to the school community today. Class by class, students from all divisions learned about Lauren’s inspiration for the project and the process of creating the artwork, which will become a permanent installation in the Harrington McLaughlin Athletic Center.
“Everyone is special and it’s our differences that make us unique,” Lauren told a small gathering of ECP students. “I’m going to graduate from Old Trail School this year and I wanted to leave something behind that I could feel proud of but also something that impacts others. When people look at this, I want them to be able to see themselves in it. I want them to see the beauty of the world and the people around us.”
Lauren said it took her nearly 80 hours to complete the project, which began with a single sketch in November of 2019. She worked under the guidance of several advisors, including Director of Technology Sharon Winfrey and Visual Arts teachers Patty Wyman and Jeff Eason.
“The design of my mural reflects the beautiful and unique culture of our school,” Lauren said. “I feel that Old Trail is so inclusive in all aspects and my mural represents that.”
But the project nearly ended shortly after it began when the pandemic hit last spring and school was closed for the rest of the year. All lives were severely disrupted and Lauren began to question whether she should or could complete the project. Ultimately, that became a fleeting sentiment.
“When I started my eighth grade year, I realized that I had started something important and influential,” she said. “I did not want to give that up just because a few obstacles had fallen onto my path. It was motivating and taught me that I was capable of pushing through the hardships of this year. I took that emotion and put it into my work.”
Guided by the school’s strategic directive to provide transformative student experiences, the Middle School Fellowship in Creativity was established during the fall of 2019. The program represents an enriching, yearlong independent study that allows students opportunities to pursue their passions and interests.
“The aspect of the Fellowship that I most enjoyed was the creative liberty and independence of the project – the liberty to make the project my own,” Lauren said. “I had the opportunity to choose the path that my vision would take; to push myself and make my project the best it could possibly be. Once I finished it, I got to step back and look at what I accomplished. I was proud of myself for what I had made, and grateful for the people who had helped to get me there. It was really an opportunity that I will never forget.”
Old Trail School is a private day school for preschool through grade eight students located in Cuyahoga Valley National Park.