Jayda Grunewald of Alexandra Middle School has left her mark, literally, on the walls of the junior high.
Grunewald, who just finished Grade 9 and will be moving on to Medicine Hat High School this fall, was asked by principal Todd Samuelson to capture the school’s values in a mural on a previously plain wall in his office.
“This year, Alexandra students and staff spent about eight months really exploring what it means to be a Jayhawk and what is important to us,” said Samuelson. “We went through a process where we started off with maybe 15 different core values and eventually narrowed them down to three, which are respect, courage and integrity.
“Those are the three values that are really going to permeate the building. I wanted the first piece of artwork that symbolized this to be done by a student and so I approached Jayda Grunewald to create something … Jayda was the perfect example of a student who would represent the student body and is very artistic, she is a very talented young lady.”
Grunewald says when Samuelson approached her with the idea for the mural project, she initially felt under-qualified for the job.
“I thought it was a really big responsibility,” said Jayda. “And I thought it was cool that they allowed me to do something like that.”
Grunewald says she finished the project in about 10-15 hours by staying after school for a few hours at a time. She sketched ideas on paper and then projected them onto the wall to complete the mural, which features a capital A, a jayhawk for the school’s mascot and the three school values that staff and students of AMS decided on earlier in the year; respect, courage and integrity.
“I try to use those words in my day-to-day life, even before I heard they were the AMS words, I would always try to give people respect,” said Grunewald. “I think that respect is a really important one, especially for schools, because there’s bullying in schools, and people don’t feel safe in schools, or welcome, and I think at AMS you really do feel welcome. I want to teach there when I’m older. I really love the school environment and I feel like they represent those words really well.”
Bobbi-Jo Grunewald, Jayda’s mother, spoke about her daughter’s talent for art and also how she exemplifies the school’s values.
“I think it was a tough year for everyone, but particularly for students with the constant changing schedule … she just showed great resilience, strength and courage and she adapted so quickly to the change. One of the ways that she likes to decompress is with art and so that has kind of become an outlet for her. So it was kind of nice for her to be able to do that and to be able to leave that kind of legacy in the school.”
Bobbi-Jo went on to say, “Courage; well she is one of many students who exemplified that this year. And she is a good example of integrity as well. She sticks with what she knows is right and she lives up to that regardless of what is happening around her.
“She follows through with what she’s asked to do and she works hard for it; she’s always been like that. It was nice to see her willingness to stay after school for several hours each week to work on that design and paint it. I’m very proud of her.”
LAUREN THOMSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News