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Crossroads Academy Students Create Beautiful Hallway Mural

mural showing a tree on top of the world with colors around it

Check out the 2nd floor hallway of Kenmore Jr/Sr High School, and you’ll see a beautiful hand-painted mural! The mural was painted by Crossroads Academy students Alyssa Sole, Jacob Santos, and Ryshon Carney, with help from retired Ken-Ton art instructor Gustavo Glorioso. The concept, an original idea by Crossroads student Lily Guarino, is that the new Crossroads Program is like a giving tree that can give its students the many things the world has to offer.

“It’s all about growth, peace, and that everyone belongs,” Sole said. “This [Crossroads Academy] program was made for kids who felt out of place and who didn’t like crazy high school life. This mural lets anyone walking down our hallway feel like they belong.”

The mural depicts a tree standing on top of the world with colors sprouting from underneath. But if you look closer, you’ll read some messages coming from the color bands. Those messages include sayings like “to be loyal” and “to be a critical thinker”, symbolizing traits the Crossroads students hope to learn while in the program.

 “It shows that there’s change happening,” Carney added. “Anyone has a chance.”

students and teacher pose in front of a mural they're painting

While the mural started as a way to help select students complete necessary art credits, it grew into something much more. Glorioso taught the students how to draw and paint, develop an artistic and personal brush stroke, blend colors, and create depth by shading. More importantly, he taught them to believe that with the guidance and care of other people, they could achieve impossible things.

“One of them had art experience while the other two didn’t. That wasn’t an issue because I specialize in making non-believers believe,” Glorioso said. “It was beautiful to see how other kids and adults would encourage and congratulate them as the project advanced and to see their facial expressions when these types of interactions occurred.”

“When I paint, it is the most freeing and peaceful thing,” Sole added. “Mr. G was a breath of fresh air, and I’d love to work with him again. It was really enjoyable spending time making something that tells you a story.”

With plenty of hallway space, Glorioso hopes this mural will be the first of many to fill the 2nd floor hallway.