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Senior Cinder Blocks

Preservation of Priceless Paintings Begins

Kyra Tharp, Correspondent

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Each year the seniors at THS paint a block on the wall. During the renovation project for the expansion of the school there may be a possibility of a few ‘Senior Cinder Blocks’ being knocked down. This slideshow is a preservation in progress of the blocks that have been painted through the years.

When I started my first year at THS I heard that Wendi Carhart, a former THS art teacher, who had left an incredible legacy, had her students paint cinder blocks on the wall.”

— Mrs. Jana Miller-THS Art Instructor

In Mrs. Jana Miller’s first year here at Thayer High School, 2010, she wanted to continue something that she grew up doing when she was in school. Mrs. Miller, THS art instructor, had two students, Maycee Smith and Lauren Mahn, paint one the same year that she started teaching.

Mrs. Miller said, “When I was in high school art class, my teacher did the same thing. We had graduating seniors paint a ‘Senior Cinder Block’ on the wall that represented their art experience. I thought that it was so awesome that I would have a permanent spot on the wall in my favorite classroom.”

When she started her first year at THS Miller heard about Wendi Carhart, the former art teacher, who had left an incredible legacy at THS by having her students do the same thing. Their paintings where of album covers of bands. “I have seen their pictures and they are amazing. Somewhere between her and I, the room was painted over and the album of the artwork the students had done was gone.”

The ‘Senior Cinder Blocks’ are a continuation of something I did in high school art class while also keeping up with the tradition that Ms. Carhart started years ago. “I listen to the parents of my students talk about the old art room and the albums they had worked on with nostalgic eyes,” Miller commented.

“I hoped in starting this that my students would feel the same way about their permanent “mark” on the walls of my classroom,” Miller said. Throughout the years of being at THS, I have had many students come back to see their senior cinder block. Miller said it’s great for them to have a reminder of the memories they made here at THS and for many of the students, their artwork is a moment frozen in time. “It shows hours spent in the art room creating works that represented who they were as teenagers,” Miller said. “I am excited to see the room completely filled with students’ artwork on the walls someday.”

The students have criteria they have to meet to be able to have their own ‘Senior Cinder Block’. Miller said,”The requirement for painting a cinder block is (1) You have to be a graduating senior (2) You must have taken Art 1 and an additional art class (3) You can only have one cinder block ( although  few have taken 1 1/2) (4) You have to sign it with your first name, last name and graduating year (5) It has to somehow represent you.”

Hopefully the cinder blocks can be photographed and preserved in an album before the construction begins this year on the expansion of the high school building. As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.”

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