Each year the graduating class at Crookston High School gets a mural painted to commemorate their graduation. Typically, members of the senior class design and paint the mural, but this year went a little differently.

Crookston Art Teacher Gary Stegman said that because of COVID-19, he ended up painting the mural, and the students signed it while back in the building for graduation activities last week. “What happens usually is the senior mural is done by seniors,” said Stegman. “They plan it and do it in every way, shape, and form. We like to say they get it done earlier in the year, but that’s not always true, so sometimes it runs into the spring. The kids were working on a plan to make fish scales and distribute them to the kids. All of a sudden, COVID happened, the kids went home, and they lost their mural, among other things. There were some attempts made by the students, parents, faculty, and a variety of people to see if we couldn’t get this thing put together. I ended up painting in myself in July, and then Jen Solie had the kids sign it after rehearsal on Friday.”  

Initially, the murals around the media center in the high school would get painted over. However, over time, the school stopped replacing murals and kept them up, making each year’s mural an ongoing part of the school said, Stegman. “In the media center, there are four angled walls around the media center,” said Stegman. “The idea was that the senior mural would get painted on that wall, and every four years it would get painted over. That was the idea, and the reasons we were thinking about that was some schools, Detroit Lakes, for instance, only have one mural, and they paint over it every year. But then as different administrators came in over the years, the murals have become a permanent part of the school, so I don’t think it’s going anywhere.”

The Class of 2020 mural is located down the hallway to the music department explains Stegman. “If you were to come in the front doors of the schools and turn left toward the auditorium, the hallway that heads toward the music department, it’s just down that hall,” said Stegman. “The Class of 2017 has a mural there, and then the mural we’re discussing now would be the next one. It’s just 20-30 feet from the auditorium entry.”