Not much in life is permanent. Children grow, relationships change, loved ones die, friends come and go, high school students graduate.
But seniors in Bridget Roberts’ Art 4 and Art 5 classes can be sure they will be remembered in the art they leave behind at Waynesboro High School.
Their art can be seen by looking up in Roberts’ classroom and other classrooms throughout the school.
“I wanted the seniors to have something special that they could do,” said Roberts, “and they get to leave a lasting legacy of art at the school.”
Roberts has taught at Waynesboro High for 16 years. She began allowing seniors in Art 4 and Art 5 to paint ceiling tiles 12 years ago.
If renovations at the school affect the placement of the tiles, Roberts said she will figure out a way to still have them or will reach out to students to get their tiles.
In her 2-D art classes, Roberts said she hopes that freshmen students see the tiles every year and are envious and inspired to think about what they will paint on their tiles when they are seniors.
“They get to choose what they want to do as long as it’s something school appropriate,” Roberts said.
Students sketch out their design before a tile is removed from the ceiling and they begin their project.
“It’s more of a transformation piece — dying, but going into something completely different, which as a senior I’m doing,” said Jaci Tucker, 17.
Her tile art was inspired in “a last-minute inspiration pop,” she said.
She thought about a poem she wrote about Greek mythos and how when people died coins were placed over their eyes so that they would have passage to pay the ferry to cross from the land of the living to the land of the dead.
After graduation, Jaci said she plans to attend Blue Ridge Community College for two years, then pursue art at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond.
Jaci grew up in Norfolk, but moved to Waynesboro in 6th grade.
“I can’t imagine the way I would be if I hadn’t come here. I’ve grown since I’ve come here,” Jaci said of her time at Waynesboro High.
Alexis Evans, 18, began painting her tile three weeks ago, which pays homage to the 1991 Disney cartoon “Beauty and the Beast.” Evans’ tile shows “Belle” and “the Beast” dancing together in front of a window with the red rose painted above them.
“I’ve always liked mosaics in Disney, and I think one of the best scenes in the movie is when they’re dancing together,” said Evans.
She incorporated the rose, which in the movie is a symbol for the couple falling in love, “the Beast” becoming human again, “and her loving him for who he is on the inside not on the outside.”
Evans said she thinks it is really cool seniors get to leave a part of themselves at Waynesboro High by painting a tile.
After graduation, Evans said she plans to work a year, then enroll in the culinary program at Piedmont Virginia Community College.
But she will not stop creating art in some way.
“Art has been a big part of my life. It’s something you can escape into,” said Evans, who grew up in Waynesboro, but left in 5th grade and returned her sophomore year of high school.
Anastasia Holdsworth, 17, has been obsessed with unicorns since seeing the 1982 Japanese-American cartoon “The Last Unicorn,” which also inspired her to begin drawing when she was 5 years old.
She continues to express her artistic abilities with colored pencils and painting.
Anastasia said that as a child she came to see unicorns are “more than just a pretty creature.”
Her ceiling tile illustrates the Unicorn in the cartoon and the girl the Unicorn becomes when she is briefly transformed into a human.
She can relate the lesson of “The Last Unicorn” to real life when it comes to the harm that faking who you are can bring.
“I think it’s a really nice project, and it kind of helps the seniors leave high school,” said Anastasia.
Graduating high school, Anastasia said, means she and her classmates are growing up, but leaving her painted tile at Waynesboro High for others to see gives her confidence in her artistic abilities.
After graduation, Anastasia hopes to work awhile before enrolling in an art program at either PVCC or BRCC. Her backup plan is to pursue a career in MRI scanning.