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Henley Middle School students create murals to promote positivity, inclusivity

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 6:20 PM EDT
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CROZET, Va. (WVIR) - Students at Henley Middle School are creating murals, canvassing the walls with words of inclusivity. They hope these messages incite positive change at school.

“All of these murals started, just by a simple question to the kids. ‘If you had a magic wand, what positive change could you bring to the world?’” Henley Middle School Teacher Clifton Evancho said. “Ideas that we wrote on the board ended up turning into these different murals that we have here in the halls.”

Students and teachers at Henley are imagining a new way to address bias and racism. This program is called ‘Courageous Conversations.’

“Henley chose to pilot that this spring,” Henley Middle School Principal Beth Costa said. “The purpose of that was to get some feedback from students and teachers, and to spend some time over the summer, improving them, revising them, taking the feedback and incorporating it to make them even stronger for all middle schools this coming year.”

The students in summer school are transforming the lessons into something visual.

“We worked really hard, it takes weeks to just finish one,” Rising 7th Grader Jigisha Singh “I’m really excited for people to see this.”

Singh hopes the murals will inspire students to embrace their differences and shine a positive light in the school.

“I want them to remember the messages and keep it in mind,” Singh said. “So if any problem arises, then they’ll just remember this and that might help them.”

Social studies teacher Clifton Evancho says the murals are already turning heads in the hallways, in a good way.

“Everyone seems to really like being able to pass by these positive messages as they cross in the halls,” Evancho said.

He is glad the students are taking advantage of the summer to take on a project that holds a deeper meaning.

“I’m proud that these kids could be doing anything over summer and are choosing to be creating something that will have a lasting impact. Not just for this upcoming school year, but for future school years to come as well,” Evancho said.

“I can’t wait for our students to come back in the fall and see all of their creations and really begin to talk about it,” Costa said.

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