A picture worth seven habits
School's new mural illustrates effectiveness program
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 06:00 am
The pupils were on their best behaviour at Ronald Harvey School for a special assembly on Wednesday morning, but then again, they’re always on their best behaviour.
The ceremony was held to unveil a new mural in the school’s foyer. The colossal permanent art piece is a vivid reminder to the student body of the several paths to personal and educational success. The mural is appropriately named The Leader in Me.
“It isn’t just a pretty picture,” said principal Janet Tripp. “Having that visual coming in is really welcoming.”
She added that it helps the students to see what being a leader looks like.
The multi-wall mural shows a schoolyard scene where children are engaged in various activities that demonstrate the seven different principles behind the school’s new philosophy.
At the beginning of the 2011-12 school year, the teachers and students started following a new program called The Leader in Me that was started by Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.
Students are coached about the practices behind being proactive, how to synergize and what it means to think win-win, among other things.
The mural shows a child planting seeds on the left side of a garden plot and watering plants growing out of the right side. This illustrates the notion of beginning with the end in mind.
“It’s really, really positive. The more we do, the more enthused everybody becomes,” said Tripp.
The school even has a Leader in Me rap that the students sang at the start of the assembly.
“We are learning the seven habits at Ronald Harvey School. We can use these for life just like the Golden Rule!” they chanted with much enthusiasm.
The school needed to work with the community at large (including RGO Office Products, ION Print Solutions and the Rotary Club of St. Albert) to raise the necessary $8,000 in funding for the project.
Edmonton-based mural artist Kris Friesen was chosen out of a shortlist of three submissions to make the seven principles a permanent fixture in the school’s front entrance.
“It was exactly what we wanted. It showcased the children,” Tripp ended, saying how satisfied she is. “Just over the top.”
For his part, Friesen is thankful that everyone was so pleased with the work. He is too, but he’s also just relieved that the massive project is over. It took three weeks’ worth of work, he explained, and it all had to be undertaken when the halls were empty.
“The students know me as the nocturnal artist,” the 36-year-old commercial artist laughed, getting somewhat more serious to describe the amount of effort that went into the image.
“This is my first educational mural in that it’s a teaching tool. It’s one of the most challenging murals I’ve ever had. I never would have guessed that I’d be painting a Seven Habits mural in a school.”