By Beth Williams, Current Staff
If you were to go looking for the East 2014 graduation mural, all you would find is a blank white wall.
This past summer, the recently created mural was painted over. The mural, which was located in the K hallway on the east side of the school, was hand-painted by graduating seniors in accordance with a longtime school tradition.
Isaiah Malnory-Brown and Amanda MacDonald, who completed their post-secondary education at West Bend East earlier this year, were especially hurt when they found out that the mural was painted over. Three months of work and class pride had gone into the mural, from the initial design by the East graduation committee, through the actual layout and painting of the mural by Amanda and others, to photos taken of the finished mural by graduating seniors.
Isaiah, who was the main designer of the mural, lamented that he “put his heart and soul into it,” and people who saw that original mural and its replacement are upset that it just is not the same.
Amanda was also quite hurt by the destruction of her project. “It’s very frustrating to have worked on something and then have it taken away,” MacDonald said.
Presumably, older murals were supposed to be painted over, not the most recent one created by the graduating class. Although many of the people interviewed for this article acknowledged that painting over the mural might have been a mistake due to miscommunication, it remains a mystery how the 2014 mural was approved for removal.
Inquiries of the current high school and district administrations yielded few answers. Jim Curler, the former high schools’ principal, took an assistant superintendent position in a neighboring school district and was unavailable for comment.
This problem was most likely the result of a lack of communication between the high school administrators, according to Superintendent Ted Neitzke. “Over the summer, with the principals transferring, there were some questionable decisions made,” Neitzke said.
Neitzke sympathizes with the people affected by this issue. “I would be just as upset as an artist,” he said.
However, the district is working hard to prevent issues like this from happening in the future. “From now on, all [murals] will be painted on boards, so they will be able to be moved if needed,” Neitzke said. After five years of being posted around the school, the boards will be swapped out for the newer senior murals. Each board will then be returned to its graduating class, which can use it during reunions.
(Images courtesy of Isaiah Malnory-Brown.)
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