Mural designed to commemorate school’s namesake

Jake Dobbs
Juniors Jennifer Sahakian, Sheena Gonzalez and seniors Meagan Ford, Dianne Villalta design their sketches for the mural in remembrance of journalist Daniel Pearl.

Maia Hito

Four students stepped forward, volunteering to create a mural to not only represent the school but to commemorate journalist Daniel Pearl.

While the mural task rewards service hours that can contribute positive impacts toward graduation requirements and college acceptance, seniors Meagan Ford and Dianne Villalta and juniors Sheena Gonzalez and Jennifer Sahakian prove they are all not in it just for the community service.

“I want to take part in something that is going to be there for a long time,” said Gonzalez, a cartoonist for The Pearl Post.

Students, parents, staff and volunteers painted the mural on May 23 and 24 along Haskell Avenue (near the 405 freeway ramps) between  Vanowen Street and Victory Boulevard. Professional muralist Levi Ponce oversaw the painting process and gave tips on painting, too.

 

This project was requested by the Lake Balboa Neighborhood Council (LBNC), an organization focused solely on dedicating themselves to the issues and concerns of the neighborhood. Their main goal is to attract students willing to participate in a creative assignment that will contribute to the beautification of the community.

Each of the four students submitted designs that left the committee with formidable choices. Unwilling to settle on just one, the four students were advised to merge their drawings together to cooperatively create one final design to display on the LBNC’s fence, located on the west side of Haskell Avenue and Haynes Street.

One of the few sketches provided by students. Since the board couldn't choose whose design to pick, all artist are incorporating their own designs into one mural.
Jake Dobbs
One of the few sketches provided by students. Since the board couldn’t choose whose design to pick, all artist are incorporating their own designs into one mural.

The students’ sketches incorporated their own personal touches, such as the art style, usage of specific colors and symbolism. However, in all of them the main focal point resided on Pearl himself. Features such as typewriters, newspapers and Jewish emblems were added to adorn the drawings, while offering more insight and connections to whom Pearl was.

Principal Deb Smith was the first who received the request to initiate the project. She not only was ecstatic to be part of it but also elaborated on the impact it would create for the school.

“I think it will give us a little bit of recognition,” Smith said.

Daniel Pearl Magnet High School is one of the many schools that took on this assignment. Magnolia Science Academy 2 and Birmingham Community Charter High School already created their own personal murals that are currently displayed.

“I mostly did it for fun, but also to contribute to the community,” said Ford, a staff writer for The Pearl Post.