Upon entering the main building on the grounds of the National Cemetery, one of the first things visitors will notice now is a display case filled with works of art.
Reds, whites and blues dominate the images of flags, soldiers, a peace sign and messages of support for the troops. Each piece was made and donated by middle school and high school students from Maclay school.
“It’s important to maintain community engagement and to be an art teacher and to love art, I love doing it in an artistic way,” said Kyle Maurey, high school art teacher. “It’s important to show the students that there are a lot of different things they can do to help beautify the area and connect in different ways to their community.”
Students from art courses, graphic design courses, the national society of honor for art and the school took part. One coin, an eagle with outstretched wings in front of an American flag, was donated by two students. It is flanked by two collages of American flags made by students in art class when they had free time in class.
One is an American flag made up of digital flowers. Senior Lucy Smith was successful in her graphic design class.
“Everyone took it in a different direction, but it’s a great opportunity for the students to speak up for the greater good,” said the 17-year-old. “It’s a great way to honor our troops because I know it’s easy to get weighed down.”
Over 50 students have contributed. They have been receptive to the project, said Maurey.
“They really enjoyed creating something that they know is going to help beautify a public space,” she said. “They really like knowing that maybe it is something to cheer up when it’s not such a bright time in people’s lives.”
The decision to partner with the school was an easy one for Principal Raymond Miller and others at the cemetery on Apalachee Parkway. The showcase is seen by visitors before the services and where the staff offices are located.
“The uniqueness of the national cemetery is that we want people to get involved here. We want people to make it their cemetery,” he said. “Now they (the students) have a place where they can say, ‘My works are on display.’ Who knows what that will mean for the future. “
The 250-acre cemetery opened in 2015. It is designed to accommodate more than 83,000 burials of veterans and their families.
Contact Ashley White at [email protected] or on Twitter @AshleyyDi.