Fifth-graders reach for the stars at La Jolla’s Bird Rock Elementary

The fifth-grade class of 2014 at Bird Rock Elementary recently completed the annual fifth-grade gift to the school. Some 90 students and teachers worked on a mural to enhance the auditorium with the theme, “Reach for the Stars.”

This time-honored tradition has beautified the school since the 1970s. From murals to self-portraits, painted tiles to stained glass and mosaic, the Bird Rock campus looks forward to a new surprise of creativity each year.

Collaborating with the artistic team of Jane Wheeler and Kathryn Stephens (both alumni moms), the students traced their hands onto the wall and then painted the hands with various shades of ethereal white, pearl and silver. Stars were painted above the reaching hands on a blue-shaded backdrop, along with the message “Reach for the Stars.”

Before the project got underway, students were asked, “What is worth reaching for?” Their responses were layered over the hands to add and element of surprise. Some of the things they felt worth reaching for were love, friends, knowledge, laughter, awesomeness, unknown, hope, peace, truth, joy, respect and happiness.

While they were working, Principal Sally Viavada received a call from a company offering to volunteer on a project for the school. She grabbed the opportunity and during the summer, the rest of the auditorium will be painted a new shade of blue. When the students come back in the fall, they will be surprised with an auditorium make over.

— Jane Wheeler