When big changes that affect the school community are made, they have almost always been decided after prompting by or consultation with students, teachers and parents.
For example, after dissatisfaction and complaints from students and parents about the old lunch program, a new, well-received one began with varying foods from local restaurants.
And before spring break was reduced to one week and a one-week mid-winter break was added, a survey was sent to all the parents to get their opinions, and the decision was discussed at the faculty meetings of the lower, middle and high schools.
But the murals on the walls surrounding the gym were painted over without any input from teachers, students or parents. Not even the original artists were consulted.
A little strange, no?
The murals were covered up because they “did not show the school in the best light,” head of school Lee Thomsen said.
As a school, SCDS honors creativity, individuality and experimentation. The murals were the embodiment of those characteristics and more; they showed the school values its students’ art and would proudly display it.
We understand that the murals were not in pristine shape. Some had been there for 21 years – longer than this year’s seniors have been alive.
But we could have restored the murals. There are many extremely capable and artistic students who could have done it while learning techniques for restoration and mural-painting at the same time.
Now, however, with the old murals already painted over in an insipid beige, the options that remain are to replace them with a new mural or signage (such as “Go, Cavaliers!”) or to leave the walls blank.
But which one should we pursue? Well, that “we should discuss as a community,” Thomsen said.
In a poll of 117 high school students on Sept. 5, 74.8 percent said they wanted a new mural on the gym walls.
To the proponents of signage: we can all probably agree that Country Day could use some more spirit. It’s not a mystery why: we’re a small school, we’re not known for our sports teams and we don’t have big games with big crowds.
At best, adding signage is a well-intentioned but biased (Dedicating an entire wall to “Go, Cavs”? Where’s the 70 square feet for the music department? What about Student Council?) attempt to improve Country Day’s “look.”
We already have “CAVALIERS” painted on the shiny new gym floor. Do we really need it on the walls right outside the gym entrance too?
The murals were places for artistic expression. Now that they’ve been covered up, it’s only fair to give a new generation of artists the opportunity to experiment and learn from painting new ones.
Any new idea for a mural painted by students will be considered by the administration while “thinking about the campus and the look we want,” Thomsen said.
This attitude directly contradicts Country Day’s distinctive appeal – the importance we give teaching, learning, creativity and self-expression.
Sooner or later a decision has to be made about the blank walls that used to be so vibrant and contain a part of Country Day history.
Administrators, we hope you choose wisely.