Most seniors are well-versed in the traditions that come as part of their final year in high school, but this week, Denair High School’s oldest students were able to enjoy a brand-new custom when they transformed their bland, asphalt-covered parking spaces into colorful and personalized works of art.
Fourteen parking spots were painstakingly painted by DHS seniors Thursday morning – a display of the school’s artistic talents, which was orchestrated by Principal Kara Backman. She saw the idea on Facebook, and decided to suggest it to her students.
“A lot of the spaces are very, very inspirational,” said Backman. “They really represent who they are as young adults.”
Students who wished to paint their parking spaces were first required to submit an application, along with a drawing of their planned design so that it could be approved by both Backman and campus supervisor Melissa Treadwell.
Then, students gathered in the parking lot Thursday morning to complete their projects, with the school providing most of the paint, brushes and rollers. The school’s colors – gray, white, black, purple and lavender – were provided for the students, along with brushes and rollers, but students were also able to bring their own paint colors.
Flowers and coyote pawprints were popular designs on the parking spaces, as were images of sports teams and references to the Class of 2018. The students painted all day, said Backman, and there is still more painting to do. Several students have yet to complete their spaces, and more have decided to take part after seeing the results of the first day of painting.
“They’re so beautiful, and they spent so much time on them,” said Backman. “I just wish everyone could go see them.”
One space painted by student Emilee Fanning even made the principal cry, she said. The parking spot depicts an image of Winnie the Pooh holding a heart-shaped balloon and includes the words, “How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”
Students also took the opportunity to display their Coyote pride on their parking spaces, like student Bryson Prock, who included his numbers from football (60) and baseball (9), along with an American flag and a tribute to his family’s roots with the phrase “My life depends on ag.”
Prock’s classmate Blake Davis painted his name, along with images representing football and baseball next to a purple paw print.
At the end of the school year, each student will be required to paint his or her parking space back to black, providing a blank slate for the Class of 2019 to make their mark. The tradition is one Backman sees continuing for years to come, she said.
“It’s their senior year, so everything about the year makes it special for seniors. This just adds to that tradition and culture,” said Backman.