The “I Am NYC” collaboration with the High School of Telecommunications, Arts, and Technology is a case study in why we love collaborating with teachers and NYC high school students. This, from first year art teacher Veronica Giurdanella:
“This will be the view for every student attending HSTAT in Bay Ridge from now on. The mural was the biggest project I’ve ever had the opportunity to complete in my art education career. This visual representation and symbolism was created by all of my classes collaboratively. Welcome, diversity, community, and plenty of persistence. I feel nothing but joy and accomplishment. My principal and I closed our eyes and walked in through the student entrance to really get the full experience of the visual embrace of color and welcome.”
And this, from Principal Xhenete Shepard:
When I walk through that student entrance and I take a look at this, I’m reminded of when we first met… and we were talking about what we hoped for this to be, and I said, ‘You and the kids decide what you like. I just want everyone to feel really embraced with kindness and diversity when they walk in the room.’ From that vantage point, when you look this way, there’s nothing but that, that you feel. They clearly did an amazing job, and I just want to thank [the entire team]. This is really a great addition to our building.”
I Am NYC (Completed Mural)
This project held special affection for both Jeremy Del Rio and Sam Wisneski. The school is where Jeremy’s grandmother graduated approximately 70 years ago, when she was an immigrant student and the school was known as Bay Ridge High School. The welcoming embrace Ms. G mentioned was Helen Vikse’s calling card until her death, and a fitting tribute from a remarkable teacher that Mrs. Vikse would have certainly loved.
The school is also where Sam Wisneski’s church meets. Crossroads Christian Church not only helped sponsor this project with volunteers, but they introduced Sam and Jeremy in 2011 and were the lead sponsor for the PS 102 Welcome mural that started Thrive Collective down the path of art education.