A wise old lion presides over the gymnasium at Latimer Road Elementary School, where students and staff are glowing in the protection of the feline animal spirit.
The school’s mascot is a lion – and so are the subjects of two new murals painted by artist Jason Craft.
The other mural is in the school foyer, where some lion cubs, meerkats and other critters welcome students and visitors.
Included in the giant gym mural is a surprise honouring Quinn Dunbar, a Grade 7 student who passed last December away after a lengthy battle with cancer and is deeply missed.
Look closely, and you’ll find a black and white outline of SpongeBob Squarepants, one of Quinn’s favourite cartoon characters, principal Vivian Rygnestad said.
It’s painted to look like a young graffiti artist might have drawn it. Next to SpongeBob are the words, Quinn Was Here.
Quinn, a funny boy who loved school and was always cracking jokes, is called Latimer Road’s Hero, Rygnestad said.
Craft, the mural artist, did much of the work in the gym over the summer, using scaffolding. The mural in the foyer was completed this fall. Students loved to watch him work.
On Nov. 17, staff and students held a school community celebration to mark completion of the murals as well as several other projects: the new paint job on the school’s exterior – the first since the school opened in 1996 – improvements to the school’s playground and a new retaining
wall along the fire lane, complete with proper drainage.
School custodians were also recognized. They are rarely seen by students since they don’t start work until 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The special assembly also included a performance by a local
African heritage group called Kokoma.