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7 more student murals at Manteca High

Students in Cyndi Esenwein’s AP Studio Art are continuing a Manteca High tradition.

They’ve added on to The Mural Project, which started off in 1996 by the since-retired art teacher Kirt Giovannoni.

“We’re trying to do at least one (mural) every year,” Principal Frank Gonzales said on Wednesday.

He proudly displayed the seven newest murals on eco-friendly Science Wing, which was completed about five years ago. Gonzales credited Aaron Bowers, who is Director II, Facilities & Operations, for Manteca Unified, for the planning of the “green” building to have room for the murals.

The MHS principal estimates that the campus now has 232 murals.

“Sadly, we’re going to lose some during the remodel,” Gonzales said.

For now, he celebrated the Science Wing-theme murals consisting of a “Bee,” “Cells,” “Chemical Elements,” “The Atom,” “Earth of Mars,” “Water” and “Snail.”

“We started the design and planning back in October,” said Esenwein. “It took about three months – the students worked during the cold days but not in the rain.”

She listed the students involved in this project:




  • Bee – Alexi Holtzinger and Gabriella Curutchet.
  • Cells – Lily Carter, Christian Rodriguez and Stephanie Cortez.
  • Chemical Elements – Sophie Serrano, Marc Buenrostro, Emma Kadillak, and Ayva Savoy.
  • Atom – Jackie Garcia, Karen Mosqueda Zavala.
  • Earth to Mars – Carly Herrick, Jose Sanchez, and Saravouth “Jason” Chea.
  • Water – Tiffany Roberts, Izabella Solorio, Monica Pedroza, Armon Bayford and Katie Gallman.
  • Snail – Jade Castro, Tyler Keller, Arlette Domingo, Nicholai Domingo, Kaitlyn Steele and Karely Beltran.

Buenrostro, for one, enjoyed the planning stages of the mural. “All of our work was original,” he said.

Each is also proud to have their hard work of the past few months as part of the school’s legacy.

The Manteca High murals have garnered national attention including stories such as in the American Profile weekend newspaper supplement.

“The kids interview the teachers whose rooms are near the proposed murals to get an idea of any special elements, like science or music, that should go into the selected picture,” Giovannoni was quoted as saying in a 2006 profile with American  Profile. “Then they go through art history books, the senior students present a few of their ideas, and I’ll usually narrow the choices down to a final dozen that’s reviewed by school administrators.”