Brushing up on school pride


A two-story-tall mural being painted at Daily High School that depicts a green dragon swooping down from the sky and bursting through a brick wall isn’t just a colorful addition to the campus. It’s also emblematic of the challenges being met by the school’s students.

Students were painting about 10 panels Tuesday that would eventually go up on a series of walls along an outside staircase.

“It’s not just one person’s work,” said Zack Cargar, 18. “It’s all of us. It’s our work. We did it ourselves.”

The tail of the dragon will wind back and forth down the side of a building, with sections of the dragon on walls coming down the staircase. Near the bottom of the staircase, the head will appear to be smashing through the wall, and then the final panel at the bottom of a staircase has the school’s name in graffiti-art lettering.

“Initially we wanted it to be edgy, representative of the student body and be contemporary,” art teacher Emily Goff said.

The mural will depict the school’s mascot — the Daily Dragon — but it also represents the character of the school’s student body, said Mark Makkouk, 18, who was painting the scales during art class on Tuesday.

“A lot of people that come to this school, it’s because they had problems….,” he said. “The dragon is breaking through the wall because that’s what we’re doing here, breaking through challenges.”

Goff and Roger Boyer, a professional muralist, had only a administrative role for the project, Goff said. The students formulated ideas, created designs and planned the project entirely on their own, she said.

“It’s been an exercise in real-life skills, working with clients, making revisions, making compromises and presenting designs on a timely basis,” Goff said.

Chris Sabino, 17, was in the classroom touching up the latest design for the lettering, which school officials have repeatedly sent back for revision due to concerns about the lettering looking “inappropriate.”

Chris volunteered to create the lettering because he draws graffiti art in his journal. “I only do it on paper,” he said. “I have my own little books. I keep it to myself usually.”

But with the mural project, he will get a chance to show off his talents for the school — and for posterity.

The project be the continuation school’s first mural since it moved into its permanent building next to the school district offices in August 2001, Goff said.

Art students at the continuation school have been designing and revising the mural since December. But the first splashes of color went up on Saturday, when students went to school to start the painting phase, Goff said.

Many of them take pride in their work and the rest of the school has been supporting them, she said.

“It’s like the best class I’ve ever had,” Zack said.

  • ANTHONY KIM covers education. He may be reached at (818) 637-3238 or by e-mail at
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