Past and current AHS students and a staff member work on a mural Wednesday morning at Austin High School. The walls, which were for years cracked and stained, will now feature images that represent AHS and aim to liven the atmosphere. Matt Peterson/matt.peterson@austindailyherald.com

Archived Story

Setting a lighter mood for lunchtime

Published 10:44am Thursday, August 1, 2013

Austin High School students won’t return to classes for more than a month; however, many of them are already undertaking another school project.

Lunchtime at AHS will be a bit more lively this year, as several students are completing a mural on the cafeteria walls. What once was old, cracked, stained and “gross,” as some students said, will now be a work of colorful art that speaks to AHS.

“It think it’s a good way to help out with the community and really revamp this place and liven it up,” said student Jiyoon Shin, who was painting with about five others on Wednesday.

Haley Splinter and Ethan Johnson work on the AHS Cafeteria's mural Wednesday morning. The mural was designed by a company, and past and current students, and some staff, are volunteering their time to  paint it. Matt Peterson/matt.peterson@austindailyherald.com
Haley Splinter and Ethan Johnson work on the AHS Cafeteria’s mural Wednesday morning. The mural was designed by a company, and past and current students, and some staff, are volunteering their time to paint it. Matt Peterson/matt.peterson@austindailyherald.com

Mary Weikum, food services director, contacted Interior Design System in January to help create a fitting image for the cafeteria. The company created a template, which the students could project onto the wall and paint the outlines. Last Friday, Weikum, staff and student volunteers finally put their paint brushes into action by covering nearly every square inch of the walls with red, gray, green, white and the letter “A” throughout the room.

Even graduates came to help.

“I already graduated, but this is fun,” said Haley Splinter. “It’s just a fun way to reconnect with people I haven’t seen all summer.”

Splinter also looks forward to seeing upcoming classes enjoy the artwork and appreciate their school for what it is. Though the project may not be complete until Sunday, the effect had already taken hold.

“It just makes the school seem fresher and newer,” Splinter said.

Weikum said about 20 students helped with the project, which needed to be completed in about a week. Weikum had been looking at the bleak walls for 10 years. Now she won’t have to see things that way.

“I’ve been here 10 years, and I just think the white-wall cafeteria is very institutionalized,” she said. “And we want to make it more fun.”


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