By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Hudson – The much-anticipated mural painted on what were five white panels of the David J. Quinn Middle School (QMS) building was officially unveiled Oct. 28 with a ceremony relocated inside due to rain. The tradition of murals began at the former John F. Kennedy (JFK) Middle School with then-art teacher Michael Correa, currently the district art coordinator.
“It’s great that we’re continuing a tradition,” he said. “They were white walls for a long time. I see a white wall and think that I’d like to see it painted as a form of expression. You always need to create new art.”
Principal Jason Webster welcomed guests to the unveiling ceremony.
“It’s nice to see that we’ve added a personal touch to the building,” he said. “It’s something that everyone has been waiting for and I’m glad it worked out well. I’m proud to be part of the faculty that saw this mural through to make it happen – obviously, rain or shine.”
The QMS Chorus performed under the direction of music teacher Sarah Worrest. In addition to Quinn faculty and students, guests included town officials and School Committee members.
Also in attendance was Brian Daniels, former principal at JFK and Quinn, and now principal of 1Lt. Charles W. Whitcomb Middle School in Marlborough. He saw firsthand the building demolition of the 45-year-old JFK and the construction of the $43.3 million Quinn, which opened Sept. 3, 2013.
“Coming to work today I was envisioning when they tore down JFK and went into the mural,” he said. “It was the murals that we mourned.”
Several murals with various themes adorned walls inside JFK. A photograph of the mural that was painted on an outside JFK wall depicting generations of Hudson scenes is now displayed in the Quinn lobby.
The new mural was created by Lisa O’Brien, an art teacher at Quinn in her eighth year with the district. O’Brien was formerly a student teacher at JFK with Correa.
“When JFK stood where the parking lot is today, I met with Mike Correa and Brian Daniels many times,” O’Brien recalled. “Part of the plan of this big, new school was that those five panels would somehow represent who we are.”
After she proposed a couple of possible designs, the unanimous choice was the idea of a tree. Blossoming on its branches are four words from the school’s mission statement: courage, empathy, honesty and respect.
“These four words represent us,” O’Brien said. “Students, administrators and teachers try to exemplify these concepts every day. We were lucky in 2014 to have Jason Webster come here as principal to keep this belief alive and to continue the project through to today. I’m so happy and proud to continue Mike’s great tradition of murals in the middle schools here in Hudson. Students who are now in college remember all the murals at JFK and which ones that they helped to paint.”
In preparation for the ceremony, a mural with the same theme was organized by art teacher Diane Hoff and displayed in the lobby. It featured about 700 paper leaves of autumn colors that were created by students on which they wrote messages expressing empathy, honesty, integrity and respect.
O’Brien shared a message with the students.
“This school is a special place,” she told them. “Wonderful achievements and changes happen when you’re in middle school – fun stuff, hard stuff, good and bad. I hope that you will all be able to see this mural and keep these words close to your hearts and minds as we work through the days and years ahead.”