Students Create Kindness Mural at Kohala Middle SchoolFebruary 7, 2019, 8:11 AM HST (Updated February 7, 2019, 8:17 AM)
Students in Lauren Canton’s Peer Mediation class initiated the idea to create a “kindness mural” on the Kohala Middle School campus in Kapa‘au, according to a Feb. 6, 2019, press release from the school.
The idea was sparked by an assignment that Canton gives her students every year—to come up with “kindness” projects that “promote peace and kindness on the KMS campus.”
Adrianna Leitch, an eighth grader at the school, came up with the idea to create a mural and her group members joined her in the endeavor, including classmates Naomi Brooke and Megan Ho‘opai, and sixth graders Isaac Salvador-Libron and Aisha Elmer.
“I wanted to do something different from everyone else and something that would last a long time,” said Leitch.
The students began their project by holding a mural design competition in which students were asked to submit a mural design with the quote “Aloha Kekahi I Kekahi” or “Love One Another.”
Peer Mediation students then voted on the winners.
Third place design winner was sixth-grader Aisha Elmer, second place was awarded to seventh-grader Lulia Perez, and the first place mural design winner was seventh-grader Jayline Salvador.
Salvador’s design is the mural seen today at the school.
When asked about her mural design, Salvador said, “I feel proud of myself and I’m happy that my parents are proud of me. I made something that can be here [in Kohala] for a long time and more kids can see that they can do whatever they want and they can achieve the goals they set for themselves. I want people [when they pass the mural] to feel that they don’t have to be mean to others and they can spread love to the world. Being mean is not going to help the world. Instead, you can be a role model by being kind and loving to others.”
The next step in the process was finding a local artist to help the students produce the mural.
Canton reached out to Anna Flint, co-director of the new Artist’s Cooperative and Community Center in Kapa‘au, who referred her to Raven Diaz, who was instrumental in the production of the mural.
“Her hard work, dedication and leadership helped the mural turn out to be a beautiful success,” said Canton.
Diaz and the students spent hours planning, tracing, painting and coating the mural. After several weeks, the mural was completed and ready to be hung.
Llosh Winne and Kalei Webster helped hang the mural on the east (Pololu) side of the KMS campus, facing the street.
“This project is a result of the hard work of so many members of the community,” said Canton. “What I love about this project is that it is a true community effort. So many people came together to make it happen—school custodians, school principal, local artists and parents. And at the forefront of the mural success are the students who had the idea, designed the mural and did the painting work. I am so proud of them. Their hard work and team effort paid off to result in a beautiful mural that will brighten up our community for years to come, reminding us of the important message to love one another.”
Sharing her feelings about the finished mural, Leitch said, “I’m really happy with the mural. It’s big and beautiful and everyone can see it. I’ll remember it for a long time. I want people who pass it to know how hard we worked and that KMS is a good place and to remember to love one another. The ‘Love One Another’ quote means we need to love and respect one another. Loving someone means being kind to them, being there for them, and supporting them. The process making the mural was fun. I got closer to the kids in my group. We learned about teamwork. We met some nice people. It was a fun, relaxing, bonding experience. It was a big moment for all of us when we saw the mural put up and we thought, ‘We did that.’ I want to say thank you to everyone who helped us and made the mural happen.”
Kohala Middle School is located at 534155 Akoni Pule Highway.