Preserve Student Expression and Identity

Before and after renovations

Before and after renovations / Landon Carter and unknown artist

One of the best part of OHS is its uniqueness and allowance of student expression, and due to the many artistic students over the years, the school halls bear many beautiful murals. Student art from over the ages is now a permanent part of our high school, helping to make the white walls less menacing (as white walls often are). Although the student body is grateful that the bond has passed, the entire elementary school and high school is to be painted over. A kind request from the student body is that the art is not painted over.

It is not difficult to avoid painting certain areas (like doorways), as all it takes is tape and plastic sheeting. It only takes a couple minutes to preserve student identity and expression, a couple minutes to make the school a more enjoyable place for the students.

When asking students about what they thought about the murals in respect to the idea of losing them, a junior who wishes to remain anonymous said, “They are a part of our history as a school, and to lose them would be to lose part of our school’s identity.”

Although the topic may not be on the forefront of the average Orcas student mind, the general agreement seems to be that the murals should not be painted over, and that the student artwork should not be lost. “They were painted for a reason and to just paint over them seems wrong,” said another student in response to the issue.

Student art is what makes the high school personal. It is this personal touch that makes OHS so unique. It is a place that students feel they can affect change and see their own progress. Being surrounded by student art allows students to feel as though they are free to express themselves. A sterile white walled impersonal school is not a school that promotes student freedom of expression.

“If they are painted over, they should be repainted, because student expression is important,” junior Amelia Kau said. However, the murals that are currently here are part of our school’s legacy. Since the school takes such good care of other student contributions, why should art get any less respect?