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Mural designed to help students appreciate American symbols

September 10, 2005|By TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT

When Henrietta Hoffman was assigned a new classroom last year, she knew the "ugly," pale yellow wall spanning the back of the room wasn't her style.

So, the Springfield Middle School assessment operation specialist painted it light blue and asked for assistance from artist Jeanne Norris.

Hoffman's goal, with the help of Norris, was to transform the bland wall into an American tribute to all those who died for and have served the country.

"I love this country, and I'm not afraid to admit it," Hoffman said. "I am so tired of people saying that they don't want to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance or to honor the flag."

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Norris painted the Statue of Liberty on the bottom left of the mural and the New York City skyline with the World Trade Center on the wall's upper-right corner.

An extra-large American flag hangs across the middle.

"It's gorgeous. It really is," Hoffman said.

Norris, a former Springfield Middle School art teacher, said it took her about two weeks to paint the scenes, a job that went smoothly after she got started.

"Anytime you're staring at a wall and it's blank, you get that little moment of, 'Can I accomplish this or not?'" Norris said.

The American flag was donated by Tommy and Sandy Myers, Hoffman said. It had been draped over the casket of World War II veteran Allen R. Myers, formerly of Williamsport and father of Sandy Myers.

"I just think that wall is so awesome," Hoffman said.

Hoffman and Principal Dave Reeder said they hope the mural also has an effect on the students.

Hoffman's room, called the Alternative In-School Instruction Room, typically is used by students who require a quiet area in which to do work or who have behavioral issues.

She said she wanted to teach the students that "this country is one great nation."

So far, Hoffman said the students love the painting.

Reeder said the mural is a nice fit for Williamsport, which he described as a patriotic town.

"This is just a part of all that in the Williamsport community," he said.

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