A project begun by Landmark Education graduate Carolyn Elaine in the Self-Expression and Leadership Program to reduce violence in Chicago’s schools was recognized by National Public Radio (NPR) in a story about Fenger High School.
Last fall Fenger student Derrion Albert was beaten to death in a nationally publicized case which became a symbol of the violence in Chicago’s schools – last year a total of 49 students were murdered in Chicago, and this year is ahead of that pace. Fenger and its new principal, Elizabeth Dozier, are taking action to turn the school around.
As her project in Landmark’s SELP, Elaine, who herself is a Fenger graduate, formed the organization Restoring the P.I.E.C.E.S., whose purpose is to connect schools impacted by violence to their communities through student art projects.
The specific project mentioned by National Public Radio was the creation of a 700-square foot peace mural. Elaine worked for weeks with students to create the mural, according to the story. The mural, titled Choose Your Own Legacy, was recently unveiled to cheering students, faculty and alumni.
“We can’t keep looking for something on the outside and change what’s happening with our children,” said Elaine. We have to be that change.”
The mural portrays Fenger’s history, including current and former students, teachers, students such as Albert who have died, and past student groups.