Bitney Prep senior creates mural on campus
Most schools have a senior project as a graduation requirement, but at Bitney Prep Charter High School, this assignment is not only about a student demonstrating their passions and abilities, their project must also focus on giving back to the community This year, as everyone has been so isolated from one another, that community connection is more important than ever. Bitney Prep senior Will Godwin has taken this micro/macro approach of the Bitney Prep senior project to a whole new level and is hard at work creating a beautiful work of art, a mural on the Bitney Prep campus.
About the senior project, Alison Harper, Bitney math teacher and class advisor to Bitney’s seniors, notes, “When students graduate from Bitney Prep, we want them to be well prepared for life and their next steps, which includes taking in other perspectives, building community, and helping those around them when they can.” Will Godwin embodies these ideas perfectly, and he sees his mural project as both creating something that the whole school community can enjoy and an expression of himself.
“I have a very complicated relationship with the mural. I had a lot of doubt in myself and my capabilities starting this project, and, for a while, I struggled to appreciate any progress I made. But, every time I came to school with an anxious thought about this project, myself, or just life in general, I was able to work through it and understand it more just by drawing and painting. I look at art as a medium to release, translate and understand emotion, and that’s what this project is more about than anything. This project, in a way, is a journal I used for emotions I never felt comfortable expressing to others in a direct way. It’s the most authentic version of myself others are able to see. This mural is me. I’ve never had a project mean so much to me on a personal, developmental level. This mural acted as a therapist; it taught me about patience and acceptance, two values I never really understood before.”
Tori Harris, Bitney’s Social Science teacher and the second class advisor to the seniors, adds that “Will has always been a thoughtful, reflective person. He has really shown this through his project. He is becoming more confident as he works, taking pride in his project. He is leaving his mark, literally, at Bitney. His mural will provide inspiration for future students and confidence that maybe, they too, can leave a wonderful legacy at our school.”
The fact that Will has had no formal training in painting before tackling this huge mural was daunting at first. “I learned as I worked and progressed. There were challenges I didn’t really know how to deal with, but, somehow, I managed. Problem-solving was the main teacher in this project. But in terms of self-discovery, I learned so much. Every day I worked on it, I felt I was exercising my mind and my opinions of myself. It was a challenge to find determination at times, but every day, after I finished, I felt accomplished. That’s something I never really had before, a sense of accomplishment. It seemed, as my respect and appreciation for this mural grew, so did the respect and appreciation I had for myself.”
When asked what he learned by working on this mural, Will continued pointing to his personal growth, “I’d say the biggest lesson this mural taught me that I’ll hold onto for my whole life is knowing when to try and fix something and when to just accept it the way it is. For the majority of this project, I wasn’t confident in the way it looked, but, eventually, I realized it is what it is and I’m going to do my best and whatever comes of it is acceptable. Whatever I create is acceptable. That was a hard pill to swallow considering I had been so judgmental of myself this whole project. But there was a deep sense of relief when I shut down all the second thoughts in my head and decided that whatever I create will be good enough. With that realization comes the understanding that I, myself, am good enough as well. This project taught me self-appreciation and acceptance, something seemingly so simple, but was so hard for me to grasp before.”
Accomplishing something of this magnitude and the self-confidence it has fostered is something Will will take with him for the rest of his life. “This project has fueled a passion in me more than I ever thought possible, and, for the rest of my life, I will continue to try and create pieces cooler, bigger, and more intricate than this mural. I’m incredibly eager to progress as an artist and see the things I’m capable of and this project was the catalyst for that mindset.”
And this is what a senior project is all about, especially at Bitney Prep High School, inspiring yourself and inspiring others simultaneously. Will Godwin is graduating this year, but, because of his mural and the confidence he has gained through creating it, he will continue to inspire other Bitney Prep students for many, many years to come.
Source: Bitney Prep High School
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