Students’ Mural Paints a Healthy Picture

To 100 eager and paint-spattered students from Cantara Street Elementary in Reseda, creating a massive mural about the essential elements of health was a cinch.

According to the 200-foot brilliantly colored paper mural they painted Thursday at Blue Cross of California in Woodland Hills, health means regular doctor visits, vigorous exercise and a diet low in fat and full of vegetables.

Carefully coloring in the legs of her red bathing-suited swimmer, Cantara third-grader Adrianna Sandoval--clad in a Blue Cross T-shirt that skimmed her knees--revealed her personal health regimen.

“I eat healthy,” the 9-year-old said. “I do lots of exercise and lots of swimming.”


Classmate Daniel Abourched, also 9, expanded on Adrianna’s theme, saying, “You need to take care of your body.” His representation of that concept was a painting of a Schwarzenegger-esque 9-year-old holding a huge barbell aloft.

The Cantara students visited the Blue Cross campus Thursday as part of the “Legacy Celebration,” which marks Blue Cross’ transition from a nonprofit to a publicly traded managed-care company. As part of that transition, state law required Blue Cross to transfer all of its $3 billion in assets to independent charitable foundations, namely the California Endowment and the California Health Care Foundation.

Blue Cross also sponsored a statewide health-themed art and essay contest.

Guadalupe Castillo, a North Hollywood fifth-grader, was one of nine art contest winners.

Valley essay contest winners were Kaitlyn Krauss, a Woodland Hills fourth-grader, and Courtney Rediger, a Granada Hills fifth-grader. Justine Lee of Woodland Hills took the essay prize for elementary schoolchildren of Blue Cross employees.