Valley Junior-Senior High School students have again painted ceiling tiles to send a lasting “thank-you” to Arnold firefighters.
The idea came from firefighter Wendy Duncan of Arnold five years ago. She is also an aide for special need students at the school.
“I’m a life member of Arnold No. 2. I’ve been there 24 years, and I love it. I thought: The student artists need something lasting,” she said.
“One panel was made for New Kensington police after Patrolman Brian Shaw was murdered. All the others are for Arnold No. 2,” she said.
The 10 panels given to No. 2 firefighters Thursday took a dozen students about two weeks to complete, art teacher Prissy Pakulski said.
“There was a lot of planning,” she said. “We have been teaching students to use their own painting style. This is different.”
Students worked together to paint parts of the panels. However, each artist was given his or her own panel and told to show a firefighter, like the panel painted by Adisun Jackson, 16, a sophomore from New Kensington.
“We thought it was great to give back to the firefighters and the community, too,” he said.
Destini Cronauer, also 16, of New Kensington said, “It’s really nice to know I’m helping out” firefighters.
Madison Brown, 16, of New Kensington said she had fun.
“I wanted to pay back someone who does everything for me,” she said, pointing out volunteer firefighters are always on call waiting to help the community.
Arnold No. 2 secretary Chris O’Leath said the project is amazing.
“It’s refreshing to see the excitement and enthusiasm of the students to do the project,” he said. “For me, the greatest thing is to see how excited they are, and we will display it for others to see.
“This is the first time that the student art will be displayed to a lot of people — and not just placed on the family’s refrigerator.”
Pakulski, who works with art teacher Ray Sharkins, agreed.
“Everything flowed together,” she said. “This is the first art that is leaving the classroom.”