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Sign of ‘inclusion’: Fredonia school mural nears completion

Submitted Photo SUNY Fredonia students Sean Marchant, left, and Angeline Ginsberg, right, work alongside Fredonia Middle School students Kelcee Stalter, second from left, and Ila Hawk, second from right, on the new school mural.

The hallways near the office in the Fredonia Middle School will soon gain some new decor.

Thanks to the efforts of middle school art teacher Mackenzie Sheldon and the art club she runs for kids in grades five through eight, the group is coming together to work on a mural that will hang in the school for years to come.

Sheldon’s been leading the club for four years, and currently the club has 45 members in total. Because of the number of students, the club meets as separate groups in order for the club to stay that large. And the students who show up for the art club are those who are the most dedicated.

“I see every student every year,” he said. “These are the ones who come during study hall, they come after school, they’ve been working with me on the mural project and they’re the ones who enjoy being there and creating.”

Sheldon has also been working with students and staff members at SUNY Fredonia to help some of her students, as she said at this level, it can be a struggle for students to take ideas and materialize them.

Submitted Photo This mural in the Fredonia Middle School Hallway is a collaborative effort from a group of students, led by art teacher Mackenzie Sheldon. The mural is expected to be completed in June.

“At the middle school level, it can be really hard,” Sheldon said. “How do we brainstorm? How do we get it from our heads on to paper? Then from paper to a mural? It’s a big scale.”

The mural has been in the works since February, and is expected to be completed in June. The mural will include several different pride words, such as “inclusion,” “create,” and “excellence,” which are all words the students provided themselves. Sheldon said that all student ideas are being taken into consideration for the project. And the project is impactful for those students participating, as they understand their contribution will be a fixture in the school for years to come.

“It’s probably been my favorite project we’ve worked with the college so far,” said Fredonia Middle Schooler Lainey Ashlock. “The college students are so enjoyable to talk to. I haven’t been to many of the art club meetings, but it’s really nice. It feels like I’m going to leave a mark here at Fredonia when that mural is hung up.”

Fredonia school board member Tom Hawk said that he appreciates the effort the students are putting forth with the project.

“The kids are doing an amazing job,” said Hawk. “I think it’s just awesome to see the work and dedication.”

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