Humanities students create graffiti collage

Emily Blumberg and Dani Carr

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Self-expression. Closure. Wisdom. Three words expressed in a visual reflection by Humanities Seniors using unconventional forms of art to convey their experiences at South. The Seniors used the project as a chance to share their small, yet significant words of wisdom, and leave behind a lasting impact on their community.

Led by English Teacher Scott Glass, the Humanities classes have continued on the tradition of creating a representation of South by initiating a project that incorporates both their course material, as well as their personal beliefs and advice that they wish to leave behind for others. South’s Humanities classes have worked diligently for the past year to construct their personal maxims: a collection of words that express the wisdom they have gained during high school. These were then turned into stencils and have recently been spray-painted on the ground outside the main entrances of the school.

The project began as an extension of the senior summit, an opportunity that the English teachers created for all graduating students in an effort to have them write about and reflect on their four years in high school. Glass claims that the senior summit originated with an idea to have the students look back on their experiences at South while remaining relevant to their curriculum.

“We wanted them to be able to use it as a springboard to be able to reflect on some of what they feel they are leaving here with; ideas, values and classroom experiences, the big takeaways,” Glass said. “The end goal from that was to have each senior write a maxim, which is a concise statement of wisdom that could be applied to a number of situations.”

According to Humanities senior Nora Curtis, the project in previous years was less personal and more of a collective representation of all graduates. Two years ago, the humanities project included hanging pictures of seniors around the school. However, this year Curtis said that they’re incorporating a more artistic form of art, combining self-expression and community in a way that displays the students creative side.

From there, Glass, along with other teachers of senior English classes, went on to incorporate this overarching idea into the traditional, yet unconventional, humanities project. Curtis believes that the project fosters an opportunity for students to personally speak their mind.

“What we’ve always learned in the class is that in art, you want to say it or make it first,” Curtis said. “In past years, they’ve just had pictures. This year, I think it’s much more individual. Each person gets to say something very intentional. Also, we get to say something outside the building, so visitors get to see it rather than just South students.”

Josh Koo, assistant principal of student activities, has also contributed to the creation of the project. He holds a strong opinion about the effects of this project on students, claiming every person has a vulnerable side, and that this project allows them to have a safe space to feel creative and reflect on their time at South.

“It is so important that we, as a school, encourage and foster opportunities of self-expression for our students,” Koo said. “We want to create spaces where students can be vulnerable and process those vulnerabilities. While this project is in the form of graffiti art, I believe it is our responsibility to also create other avenues for the well-being of our students.”

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