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Anti-bullying mural going up at campus
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Sometimes your art contest entry ends up on a poster. 

Other times it’s a T-shirt. A coffee mug. A mouse pad. The cover of a video game. Heck, even the pages of a magazine if you’re lucky enough to attract the attention of the right people. 

But when Cierra Rivera submitted her entry into a Manteca Unified School District anti-bullying contest, she knew that she stood a chance at something far greater – leaving her design on the wall for all future students that walk the halls to look at, understand, interpret and appreciate. 

If the weather cooperates this afternoon a trio of Sierra High School students will be on hand at Stella Brockman to turn Riveras’s artistic vision into a full mural. Three of the school’s best artists will once again pick up their palettes – two of them have already been involved with painting two other murals – and turn an ordinary wall into something that will stand out for years to come. 

“I think that it’s incredibly important because it sends a positive message and it’s done in a unique way,” said Sierra High advanced art teacher Kathy Ridder. “That makes a big difference.”

Executing the design will be senior Kyrstin Riley, junior Anna Recker and sophomore Andrea Zarevich. They’re expected to get underway today at 12:30 p.m., and hope to finish the entire project up in one day. 

Stella Brockman, which opened in the early 1990s, was one of the first schools in Manteca Unified that followed a uniform construction layout. Brick, stucco and concrete make up the visible façade, and schools like Joshua Cowell – another built from the same set of blueprints – have turned to paints to spruce up the school’s quad and set it apart from others. 

It’s the collaboration, Ridder said, that really brings something of substance to the exceptionally talented students that learn that their talents are appreciated outside of the classroom. 

“I think that it’s important for them to have actual hands-on experience,” Ridder said. “And learning how to work as a team instead of working individually on projects is an important tool to develop.”

While school districts across the country have sliced music and arts education from their budgets over the course of the last decade because of funding concerns, Manteca – as a community – has not only kept them afloat but reinforced the importance of art in the community through organizations like the Manteca Mural Society. 

Sierra High student teacher Katrice Farnsworth will aid the students in the project. The logistics were ironed out between Sierra High principal Steve Clark and Stella Brockman principal Candice Espinola.