Change of Scenery

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Change of Scenery

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The amphitheater, it’s the center of activities at the school – rallies are hosted there, people gather there, the dance crew practices there, DJ’s and bands perform there. It’s the only place that remains the same for the alumni, and it’s a place to unleash the school’s Trojan pride. As the school celebrates its 50th year, one of the most significant structures on campus is undergoing a change.

For the first twenty seven years of the school’s existence, the amphitheater displayed three plain brick walls. In 1992, Alisal students decided to step up and create the mural that has been there for 23 years. The center wall had a big drawing of an eagle and each wing was decorated with a flag: the left wing had the Mexican flag and the right wing had the American flag. In front of the eagle there was also a prominent drawing of an Aztec sitting down with a javelin between his legs and facing to its right .

On the left wall there were drawings of an arm breaking free from chains with the word “RAZA” on top of it. There was also a drawing of jail bars with a man behind with handcuffs and a gun near him. And next to that La Muerte (Death) was there, surrounded by people.

On the wall to the right of the center wall there were drawings of what appeared to be two Alisal graduates, as well as a pair of hands holding the world and two adults- a man and a woman- with a child in front of them. According to Rachel Torres, an alum and our Community Liaison, “The American flag and the Mexican flag, obviously, was because we have two cultures come together and because most of the students here at the school were of Mexican descent, although over the years we’ve always had a mixture of other cultures.”  She also explained the gun that was pictured, which was a very controversial drawing, “It wasn’t more so to put the message out that we had a lot of violence. it was more so, what are we going to do to stop the violence? And I think that’s why they chose to put up the gun on there. It was more so the story behind the students that did the art,” said Torres.

Although this is the 50th year anniversary of the school, the change has nothing to do with that, according to art teacher Jose Gil and Principal Ernesto Garcia. Gil had planned on changing it last school year, but it never happened, leading to Garcia’s decision to change it for other reasons. “We had the mural for twenty something years and there was some stuff on the mural, there was a gun on there and other stuff and I think we needed to update it. I thought it was a beautiful piece, but I thought we needed to do something different.” After he was set on the idea to change it, he set up a committee to decide if it was something they wanted and after it was finalized they took over, “I didn’t want to go in there and influence, I thought it would’ve been better if I could get a group of people on campus, and I think five heads are better than one,” he said.

Gil and four other staff members – Opportunity teacher and alum Albert Mazzuca, Torres, PE Teacher/Football Coach Jim Lockwood, and freshman English teacher Tomas Salinas – signed up to be part of this group. However, Gil (also an alum) as the leader of the project, decided to include some of his Art 3-4 students – Ian Bacon, Edenise Marquez, Martha Mendoza, Luis Ruiz, Julia Lopez, Mario Martinez, and Yael Cruz – to work on it. The students had mixed reactions. Mendoza said, “I liked the old wall because it seemed to represent our community.” Bacon, one of the leaders of the dance group, Anonymous, said, “Well you know this is pretty much my crew’s home cuz we’re always here, some of them like it, some of them say they liked the original one because it showed a lot more and this one is just the Trojan and that’s pretty much it.”

Not only did the art students have their say on it but also the committee members. Torres said ‘“It’s different. I know that they were looking for something that would encompass everybody, to have everyone included, and what better than the Trojan right? Although I would’ve wanted the Trojan lady, Helen of Troy, because we also have the other mascot that is a woman and they never use the woman, but the woman does exist, Helen of Troy.”

Mazzuca said, “I had the idea of using the whole curve to kinda show how Alisal High became what it is, kinda like a panorama. Start out with fields on the left and then moving through construction, and maybe, what the school was like when I went to school here, then how over the years it’s changed and become what it is now.” He also said, “I really like the Trojan, but I can’t visualize yet what the pixels are going to look like when they are done, but I think it’s going to be cool.”  Yoselin Bravo, a senior, said, “I actually do kinda like it. I think it’s really cute.”

Jane Albano, English teacher and alum, said, “The other one showed a variety of Alisal’s life, and this one is focusing on our mascot, and it looks like a profile of Coach Gil. That was my impression, you know even though the other one showed a wider range of culture, this one is more focused just on us, the colors emphasize our forest green and black and our Trojan.”

Lockwood said, “I really like the design that the committee decided on.  I think the design is awesome.” For those who are doubting the new design, Mazzuca said, “We should give it a chance to be completed, give it a chance to just be what Coach Gil envisioned for a while; and then think about ‘Does it need anything else, or is it fine the way it is?’”

Change is always difficult, but Gil said there’s a clear vision beyond the pixels. “We live in the world of technology, and everything is now down to the pixels so we want to be modern. We want to create an illusion to where things are moving but the Trojan is there. The Trojan is the foundation, it’s the focal point, the rest is kinda the illusion which doesn’t really matter. What matters is the heart of the school which is the Trojan, and we’re going to put Alisal Trojans; clean and simple. That’s the centerpiece of our school, not the thousands wing not the science wing, that’s the center of our school.” Gil also explained that, “It’s going to be about school pride, school culture, it’s part of the whole beautification project, trying to make everything uniform, kinda match, that’s just part of it.”

 

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