A symbol of transformation has taken over a brick wall at the South Surrey/White Rock Learning Centre.
Featuring the school’s mascot – a raven – seemingly bursting through the wall, the mural is back-dropped by hues of gold and blue highlighting the White Rock pier, and surrounded by words of inspiration: inspire, respect, create, dream, imagine.
The mural adds warmth to the warehouse-style facility at 2320 King George Blvd. – but it represents so much more, said principal Jim McConnell.
“There’s been thousands and thousands of kids through this school, but there’s no evidence of it,” McConnell said. “In a lot of ways, the learning centre sort of transforms some of these kids’ lives.”
In the works for about a year, the mural is the culmination of extensive efforts by students to research, design and create a piece of art that represents their journey through positive transformation and personal growth.
Working with artist Jason Craft, the finished product is “even better” than they envisioned, student Hayleigh Rubens-Augustson said.
“There’s not this big white wall now. It has some beautiful artwork on it,” said Rubens-Augustson, who has her eye focused on a career in art.
“Everyone is so excited. It just looks really great.”
The design process included a mural tour of Vancouver, to collect ideas from how other communities have represented themselves through art. Using Photoshop, students combined photographs and ideas to create a proof of the final product. Craft came in at the design stage to help guide the process, teacher Lisa Patrong Patrong said.
Rubens-Augustson, who turns 18 this month and expects to graduate this year, said many people wrongly believe that learning centres are “for kids who are going nowhere in life.”
“It’s not. There’s so many things you can work for,” she said.
She said Craft offered her the opportunity to help him with another mural, located at a library.
Patrong said the project was an effort to engage the whole school, which currently boasts about 180 students – many of whom arrived at the centre after struggling in the ‘regular’ public school system.
A core group of about 40 students took the project to heart, she said.
“The whole idea for the mural was to make this more of a home, so they all had a sense of belonging… something they were proud of,” Patrong said.
“And you can always make it better, even if you’ve got it.”