South cel­e­brates 10th birthday with mu­ral project

The Advance of Bucks County - - NEWTOWN AREA - By Jeff Werner

NORTHAMP­TON TOWN­SHIP – What’s a birthday with­out a present?

In cel­e­bra­tion of their school’s 10th year, students and staff at Coun­cil Rock High School South are cre­at­ing a spe­cial gift to mark the oc­ca­sion - a mo­saic mu­ral – that will even­tu­ally adorn the school’s front lobby.

“Solid Roots Branch­ing Out to the Fu­ture” is the theme of the mu­ral, which is tak­ing shape on the back­drop of two large pan­els mea­sur­ing 5-by-S feet and 8-by-S feet.

Stretch­ing across the pan­els are branches of a tree, its limbs dec­o­rated with leaves and pep­pered with open squares which will even­tu­ally be filled with pho­to­graphs de­pict­ing stu­dent par­tic­i­pa­tion in the school’s ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties.

The tree’s root sys­tem rep­re­sents how the school is an­chored in the community while the branches sig­nify the school reach­ing out to the fu­ture with its more than 2,000 students, ac­cord­ing to mu­ral ad­vi­sor and art teacher Madame Kohl.

Teams of eight students at a time have been work­ing on the project, glu­ing pieces of tile, one-by-one, onto the fa­cade of the mu­ral.

“Ev­ery­thing’s like a puz­zle,” said Kohl. “If we can’t find a tile that works in the space, we shape it to the right size. It’s like what they did in the old Ro­man times.”

The project is a joint ef­fort of the school’s Art Forum and the French Honor So­ci­ety and is be­ing co­or­di­nated by stu­dent lead­ers Nick Hes­son, pres­i­dent of Art Forum, and Claire Chu, pres­i­dent of the French Honor So­ci­ety.

“With this mu­ral, we wanted to show how much we have achieved and how much we will achieve through the past 10 years and over the next 10 years,” said Hes­son.

“In 10 years, our school has al­ready ac­com­plished so much,” adds Chu. “The next 10 years, it’s go­ing to get even bet­ter.”

The 11th graders said they are pleased with how the work is pro­gress­ing and how the school community has em­braced the project, though they both ad­mit it’s been a very slow, te­dious process.

“Claire and I have spent 29 plus hours af­ter school and all the days off just work­ing on it,” said Hes­son. “And af­ter school ev­ery Tues­day and Thurs­day we work for about two hours try­ing to fin­ish this.”

“It’s very te­dious work,” adds Chu, “but it’s also re­lax­ing to just sit there. It’s me­thod­i­cal in a way so you can just sit there and re­lax.”

In ad­di­tion to co­or­di­nat­ing and work­ing on the project, Hes­son has taken on the ex­tra task of cre­at­ing the 20 leaves that will dec­o­rate the mu­ral. “I’m us­ing dif­fer­ent types of glazes, col­ors and de­signs, but all go­ing with the theme of the piece.”

So far, more than 200 students have chipped in to help, ei­ther by break­ing tiles or af­fix­ing them to the pan­els. And on Oct. 14, dur­ing the school’s Fall Fes­ti­val, the pub­lic joined the ef­fort.

“We’ve had a lot of peo­ple help. We had par­ents and sib­lings and kids com­ing home from col­lege. We even had a four gen­er­a­tion fam­ily in here help­ing us,” said Kohl. “It’s very cool and it’s fun.”

The mu­ral is sched­uled for in­stal­la­tion in the school’s front lobby on De­cem­ber 1T.

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