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Cartoon Mural Adds New Faces to Campus

Snoopy, Tweety Bird and the Pink Panther made their debut at Chandler Elementary School on Friday as fifth-grade students celebrated the end of the year with a culmination ceremony.

The cartoon characters are part of a mural, painted by school staff, parents and other volunteers on an outside cafeteria wall next to a student eating area.

“We wanted this to create an exciting atmosphere for the kids to eat their lunch and take their breaks in,” said Lynda Reichbach, president of the school’s PTA. “The kids are going crazy; they actually look forward to coming here.”

In designing the mural, staff asked for opinions from the more than 650 students at the school.

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School officials then cleared the use of copyrighted characters with entertainment companies, such as Disney and Warner Bros., Principal Barbara Thibodeau said.

In the end, the wall was covered with about 15 well-known animated characters, including stars from the Peanuts comic strip, Tigger from “Winnie the Pooh,” the Tasmanian Devil and Garfield, among others.

“When I saw the reaction the kids had to the idea, I just had to do it,” said Enrique Contreras, who volunteered his artistic skills to draw the figures along the 15-yard-long wall.

“I just wanted to make the school look better and provide something nice, something positive.”

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The mural marked the end of a school-year-long effort to beautify the Chandler campus.

Students have helped school staff and volunteers plant gardens and joined cleanup crews. There are plans to paint a “Lady and the Tramp” mural next year.

“I look at the kids’ faces and I want to do more,” said Debby Gibson, a special education and health-care assistant at the school. “It lets me know the kids are respecting their school.”

Anthony Ruiz, 10, who was graduating on Friday, pointed to Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck as his favorite characters on the mural and gave his opinion of the artwork: “It’s cool.”

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