Freshmen surprise principal with painting of himself


Bill August is with the ten freshmen who surprised him with a cubism painting of himself. After the idea was suggested to the students, they volunteered their time to paint this piece as a surprise for August.

Liam Ocker, Reporter

For over twenty three years, Judy Mislitski and her art students have done paintings by famous artists that hang all around the Big Spring High School. This time, though, she had her students paint something completely new. A few art students from Mislitski’s freshman class decided they were going to collaborate to paint Bill August, principal of Big Spring High School, himself. 

The idea began after Big Spring’ Pineapple Week, where teachers are able to stop in to other classrooms to see what other classes are doing. A teacher jokingly suggested that a piece of August in cubism should be done. A few of the students then asked Mislitski if they could actually do the piece. Mislitski made it a collaborative, volunteer project that would be worked on over flex times. Ten students worked together, independently, and also collaboratively, for about a month. “They came up with a plan, they chose their colors, they went very large, and worked over flex time.” said Mislitski on the choices the students made when deciding what to do. The students worked section by section sometimes painting individually, in small groups, or all together. “Not everyone was here at the same time,” said Mislitski. “When they would come in they [the students] would see what needed to be done and they would work on one little section at a time.” 

Art students are taught about collaboration when they take their first art classes. While students might not be physically working on pieces together, they get advice and ask questions from other students to make their pieces better. Working on one project together can be challenging for art students though. “Art students are very possessive of their work,” said Mislitski. “They like to have something tangible to take home after they are done.” Robert Greene is one of the freshmen that worked on the cubism piece. “It was challenging not to take over the whole project.” he said. There was no set leader and Greene added it was hard to split up the project. Art students are always collaborating, but Mislitski specifically wanted to focus on collaboration this year as one of the 6 C’s in Big Spring’s Profile of a Graduate.

Once the ten freshmen were happy with the piece they had made of August, Mislitski gave it to him after a meeting. August’s first reaction was confusion; he had no idea the piece was being made and Mislitski gave it to him when he was least expecting it. After realizing what was being given to him, he was joyous with the gift from the students. “[They] did a great job.” said August, so much that he met with the students who worked on the piece. Mislitski described the piece as “great” and beautiful”. “I’d like to see it in the school somewhere,” she said. She believes the students would be proud to be able to see their work hung in the school.