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Sunrise Waldorf students put finishing touches to downtown Duncan mural

Sunrise Waldorf students, from left: Tahlia Sueltze, Zekiah Juliosen and Rowen Hidson-Lewis work on completing a wall mural in downtown Duncan. - Don Bodger
Sunrise Waldorf students, from left: Tahlia Sueltze, Zekiah Juliosen and Rowen Hidson-Lewis work on completing a wall mural in downtown Duncan.
— image credit: Don Bodger

Taking a Totem Tour in downtown Duncan inspired Grade 4 Sunrise Waldorf School students to create something to show their pride in the community.

After going on the tour in September and sketching various totems, the students returned to class and completed watercolour images from their sketches.

The paintings were displayed in the school and one posted on the Sunrise Waldorf School Facebook page caught the eye of Duncan Business Improvement Area Society's MaryAnn Hartley, who's the Downtown Development Finance Coordinator.

That resulted in an opportunity for students to paint a mural downtown with approval from City of Duncan council and the help of master mural artist Jerry Ringrose.

The finishing touches were put on the mural across from the Duncan post office on Ingram Street beside the Telus building and yard Sunday and Monday. Teacher Lisa Hitch said it's been a great experience for her class.

"We're all learning,'' she said. "It's nice to have children feeling a part of their city. They have more care and respect and a sense of pride in their town.''

Hitch said the project all began as a study on local geography.

"Our first thing was to discover where we're from and our own town.''

The person conducting the tour proved inspirational to the students, Hitch said.

"He took us all around the town. We did the tour, he told us all the stories.''

The next day was the colour and painting project that set the tone for the eventual mural.

"They created what they remembered seeing,'' said Hitch. "This is their interpretation of what they saw on that Totem Tour. They learned a lot of the Cowichan culture.''

A total of 15 students worked on the project.

"We spread it over two weeks,'' said Hitch. "We came down after school and on the weekend so it was after-school time.''

The assistance of Jerry and Liz Ringrose was invaluable in the finished product.

"There's a technical side to this that they're too young for,'' said Hitch.

But an amazing attention to detail from the beginning of the school year to the end resulted from the students' efforts and could readily be seen in the development of the piece.

"There's a different level of maturity,'' said Hitch. "It's important it happened in the same school year. It had to happen right away or not at all.''

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