As DtBHS celebrates the one year anniversary of its opening, administration, student groups and staff have worked hard to make the school feel like a home. The once empty, white walls now hold student art, school spirit designs, and hand painted murals.
“It makes it feel a little more homey, especially in a mall,” Ava Kahl ‘23 said. “I really enjoy seeing artwork that my fellow peers have made… I’m like ‘hey I know that person, that’s really cool!’”
Liam Jolly ‘22 stressed the importance of art in classrooms.
“Back in the old BHS building, the teachers would paint their classrooms,” Jolly said. “It really gave you a sense of being somewhere where your learning was prioritized.”
Parent Teacher Organization member Claudia Renchy Morton created a ‘Go Fund Me’ with a goal of $6,500 to beautify BHS. The current donations have reached $4,840 and have been used to purchase, among other things, plants and artwork.
“One big thing is that there are NO WINDOWS and lots of white walls,” Morton wrote on the Go Fund Me page. “We would welcome any donation large or small.”
Some of the money donated to Mortons ‘Go Fund Me’ went to hiring local artist Phoebe Lo to design and outline a student painted mural, now located near BHS’ Cherry Street entrance.
Chenoa Hunt ‘23 is a member of the Environmental Justice Club and worked alongside students to hand paint the mural.
“I love seeing the mural especially because I participated in it,” Hunt said. “I think it blends with the space.”
BHS librarian Shannon Walters has worked with other library staff to create a welcoming environment for students. She added book exhibits, daily jokes, and live streams of ski resorts, animals, and outdoor places to the former shoe department.
“It’s light hearted,” Walters said. “It’s looking for a place where students can relax and recharge. This space really belongs to our students. I’d like students to see themselves owning it.”
Many clubs and programs have added to the schoolwide artwork as well. Burlington Technical Center (BTC), which relocated to Cherry Street this year along with BHS, spent time last week hanging up student art in an upstairs hallway.
“It’s really exciting to see the latest BTC pieces that bring a little bit of our partner school here,” Walters said. “It’s cool to see different artwork that expresses different student groups in our building.”
Adalee Leddy ‘23, a BHS and BTC student, helped hang the student artwork.
“As a BTC student who goes to BHS, it’s really cool to see both of the schools that I go to represented together,” Leddy said. “It makes me feel proud of the students.”
PTO and School Board member Clare Wool also had a big role in the beautification of BHS. Wool attributed her inspiration to a quote that she has resonated with since moving to Burlington: “Earth without art is just eh.”
“I hope [the artwork] has a calming effect on people and is a mood changer,” Wool said.
BHS teacher Andrew LeValley agreed.
“It felt like a rat maze,” LeValley said. “Now that we have this artwork, it’s starting to feel a lot more human and a lot more like a high school.”