Students’ artwork graces the walls and hallways of Mount Hope High School.

Steve Keenan
The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

The atmosphere has brightened up considerably around the halls of Mount Hope High School this year, assistant principal Joby Groom said Thursday. And that has impacted children’s attitudes.

Groom was speaking at a special ceremony to show the public the efforts expended by the MHHS students and surrounding community in making the school a more welcome area through their art and music. Various, colorful student-generated murals graced the nearby walls as Groom spoke during the “Art Extravaganza.”

According to the New River Health Association’s Nonie Roberts, the project was coordinated by the Mount Hope Children’s Health Council, which applied to the Partners in Prevention and received funding from the West Virginia Children’s Trust Fund. The main thrust was “to improve the climate of this school,” she said. To the students, Roberts said, “You did an absolutely amazing job.”

During her remarks, Roberts discussed the pinwheels that were handed out to attendees. They represent protection of children from abuse, she said.

Speaking for the man he termed the school’s driving force — principal David Null — Groom said the school transformation has been something to behold.

“We’ve had a great year here at Mount Hope,” said Groom. “Each piece of art displayed here tells a story … of a school that was a year ago cited for being a dirty school.”

Saying it’s been “a battle” to get the children interested in improving their surroundings, Groom added, “These pictures represent pride, they represent ownership, they represent love and they represent respect.”

Also during the ceremony, teacher Greg Morgan displayed projects completed by three students — Chesare Spadaro, David Abshire and Brandon Blevins — in which they blended a musical selection with artwork.

“We’re delighted you all have come to see the beautiful artwork the students have done,” said Rosalie McCauley, Mount Hope High health educator.

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