“We started off with the other [Art I students]. They had their sketches and they started working on them, but then they kind of dwindled away,” Wright said. “So then Chandler and I came in and filled in, with the exception of one or two symbols, and we basically finished up.”
Cleveland High art teacher Laura Gheesling initially spoke with Cormetech about the possibility of students creating a mural. Gheesling’s Art I students were chosen to create the sketches while Dr. Anita Brown’s special education class handled the research. Brown’s class was also responsible for creating the border of the mural.
Gheesling and Wright’s students finally decided to split the symbols of Cleveland into two categories: nature and business.
Displayed on the large mural banner are the local higher education institutions Cleveland State Community College and Lee University; local manufacturers Cormetech, Amazon, M&M Mars, Coca-Cola, Whirlpool and Hardwick Clothes; a nondescript church; local favorites Tall Betsy and The Spot; and nature and historical highlights: the Ocoee Whitewater Center, camping, a train passing through the autumn trees and the Trail of Tears.
Wright and Nichols said working with the students from Brown’s Comprehensive Development Classroom was one of their favorite parts of project.
“It was a unique experience because they were really sweet,” Wright said. “They did so much, even though the border doesn’t seem like it was that much. It really was a big part of [the mural].”
Nichols agreed, “They were a huge help to us. They were the ones who did the research and told us what would be on the mural ... It was just amazing to get the opportunity to work with many different people and artists.”
Director of City Schools Dr. Martin Ringstaff offered his congratulations to the students.
“I think it is a testament to the great work of the art students and teachers,” Ringstaff said. “I love the [Business & Education Serving Together] setup and relationships we have, and for [Cormetech] to give back by allowing our students this really cool award of sorts is really night.”
Cormetech director of operations Denise Rice said she views the BEST partnership as a mutual engagement between the school and business in question.
“What we are looking for is a partnership that is mutually beneficial to the school and business. I think a lot of industries can have a positive impact on their community, particularly school and education,” Rice said. “There is a difference between writing a check and engaging.”
She said the mural was a real collaborative effort between Cormetech, Cleveland High and the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce.
CHS Principal Autumn O’Bryan agreed the school’s relationship with Cormetech is very collaborative.
“We don’t look at the partnership as what Cormetech can give us. We look at how we can serve them as well,” O’Bryan said as she explained the local manufacturer often sits down with Cleveland High administrators to discuss future projects.
Continued O’Bryan, “Really it is about working together and how our students can be a part of a great plant like this with its family atmosphere.”
A small reception with hors d’oeuvres was held prior to the big unveiling.
Rice said some may have been surprised by the program. However, Cormetech felt it was important to celebrate the accomplishments of area youth. She said the work of the two classes is something to celebrate.
Gheesling expressed her sincere appreciation and pride in her students.
Rice presented Gheesling with a donation for the Art program at Cleveland at the close of the program.
I think a lot of industries can have a positive impact on their community, particularly school and education. There is a difference between writing a check and engaging.” — Denise Rice