Diamond Bar/Walnut Highlander
March 24-30, 2013
By Richard Irwin
The kids have been waiting a week for the unveiling of the new murals at Castle Rock Elementary School. But the wait was worth it Thursday, when the Diamond Bar school uncovered 240 colorful tiles under a sunny, blue sky.
"One of our volunteers, Cindy Yee, thought it would be a great way to beautify our campus and raise money for our programs," said Principal Carol Sullivan.
The International Baccalaureate school gathered in the amphitheater to get their first glimpse of the four large murals. Until then, the students had only seen the 6 inch by 6 inch tiles that they had designed themselves.
Many parents made it a family project, buying a separate tile for each child. The Fang brothers, Marcus, Matthew and Michael, designed four squares showing them in different occupations.
"I wanted to see the mural because my two nephews made tiles for this project," explained Diamond Bar Mayor Jack Tanaka.
His wife, Wanda, was busy looking for the minor masterpieces made by Izaac and Nathan Eubanks.
"They're so cute," she said.
Yee said she had seen similar projects in some Orange County schools. The local artist already teaches the "Meet the Masters" art program afterschool.
"We thought it was a great idea when she told us about the tile murals," agreed fourth-grade teacher Michelle Boots.
So Yee began organizing the big project. The Community Club volunteer organized several painting sessions for students and their parents.
The professional facepainter also provided guidance for designing the personalized tiles. Many parents volunteered to help in the art sessions.
"Even our youngest children in transitional kindergarten children joined in," Sullivan said.
Yee hired Chris King Designs of Anaheim to provide the supplies and fire the finished tiles in their kiln.
"They did a nice job of installing the murals on our school, but I had a hard time keeping it covered until the dedication," Yee said.
The tiles sold for $20 each. Profits will be used in Castle Rock's technology and IB programs.
Parent Tani Ross bought tiles for her 9-year-old daughter Kayla and 7-year-old son Jake.
"Jake love Legos so that's what he put on his tile," Ross said.
Christina Munoz bought tiles for her 7-year-old son Victor and 3-year-old daughter Sofia. Victor's features a dragon while Sofia's pictures a little girl in a field.
"I bought a tile, so did half the faculty," said second-grade teacher Sally Schmidt.
The colorful tiles will brighten the elementary school for many years to come.
Castle Rock Elementary School student Margot Liu,8, points out a friend's tile after new murals were unveiled at the Diamond Bar campus on March 21.