Stu­dents at Bad­deck Academy have but­ter­flies

The Victoria Standard - - Front Page - CAROLYN BAR­BER

The once bare cen­tral hall­way of Bad­deck Academy is sud­denly aflut­ter with colour.

The first day back to school this fall, each Bad­deck Academy stu­dent traced an out­line of their hand on a blank piece of pa­per. That af­ter­noon, and into the evening, Stu­dent Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil (SAC) mem­bers Deb­bie Chris­tiano and Tammy Mac­sween cut out each of the 275 hand­prints. Over the past month, 45 of these one-of-akind hand­prints have be­come part of a grow­ing mu­ral full of but­ter­flies. Like the stu­dents they rep­re­sent, no two are alike.

“You just walk by those but­ter­flies and you feel, okay, that could be my hand. I be­long,” said Chris­tiano, a Bad­deck Academy alum with two chil­dren now at­tend­ing in grades three and nine.

The but­ter­fly mu­ral project sup­ports one of Bad­deck Academy’s 2018 school im­prove­ment goals - cre­at­ing a safe and in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ment for all stu­dents.

"Our goal is to cel­e­brate stu­dent suc­cess through pos­i­tive mes­sag­ing," said Bad­deck Academy Prin­ci­pal Barb Mac­don­ald.

Mac­sween and Chris­tiano sourced the pos­i­tive mes­sage em­bed­ded in the mu­ral: “Like a but­ter­fly, I am grow­ing and chang­ing and find­ing my true colours in life. I am find­ing my wings so that I can be on my way and fly and soon be on my way.”

“Maybe you started out as cater­pil­lar, right? But you're go­ing to be able to get your wings, you're go­ing to be able to fly, you're go­ing to be able to grow,” said Chris­tiano. “That’s what stu­dents are do­ing, right? They're find­ing them­selves, find­ing their way. So, but­ter­flies just seemed like the right fit.”

They had no trou­ble find­ing just the right artist to cre­ate the de­sign el­e­ments for the project.

Trans­form­ing peo­ple and en­vi­ron­ments through art is noth­ing new to Mid­dle River tex­tile artist Nika Feld­man. She has done hands-on work­shops in In­dia, Nepal and the United States us­ing the artis­tic process to ed­u­cate and em­power women and girls.

Feld­man has spent close to 60 hours over the last month trac­ing the hand­prints, one-by­one, onto one side of the cen­tral hall­way. Feld­man wanted to use stu­dent hand­prints to cre­ate a strong sense of con­nec­tion with the mu­ral lo­cated in the cen­tral hall­way that all stu­dents pass through ev­ery day.

“They all know that this is theirs, this is them. They are all up there,” said Feld­man af­ter school clos­ing on Oct. 4 while putting fin­ish­ing touches on the first 45 but­ter­flies.

With Feld­man work­ing in 2-3 hours spurts af­ter school hours, stu­dents have seen change ev­ery day.

“It's al­ways nice to see the stages, as op­posed to it just be­ing there and you don't have any con­nec­tion to it.”

Con­tin­gent on avail­able fund­ing, Feld­man is sched­uled to re­turn next year to com­plete the se­cond and third phases of the project. She plans to paint the egg, cater­pil­lar (larva) and chrysalis stages of but­ter­fly growth and then trace and paint in the re­main­ing 230 hand­prints on the op­po­site wall.

Prin­ci­pal Mac­don­ald doesn’t want to stop with just one mu­ral. Schools are lim­ited in the ways they can adorn their hall­ways. Due to fire mar­shal reg­u­la­tions, 80% of wall space must be clear. She says painted mu­rals are just the thing to spruce up a school.

“I've got hun­dreds of blank can­vases in this build­ing when you start to look at the wall space we have here above the wain­scot­ing.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.