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Sixth Grade Student Creates Stunning Mural for West Orange Central Office Classroom

West Orange, NJ – Sixth grade gifted and talented student Anya Hughes has created a stunning mural for the Central Office classroom to thank teachers Rebecca Giacopelli and Megan Schaller for the wonderful experiences she had during the program.

Students are accepted into the gifted program in the West Orange School District based on criteria specific to K-12 grade levels. Anya completed her Grade 3-5 program, located at Central Office, in June.

“I created this mural because art is a way that I express myself,” began Anya.

“I knew that fifth grade would be my last year with Mrs. Giacopelli and Mrs. Schaller. I wanted to express my gratitude by leaving them with a mural that would brighten up the gifted classroom. I believed this would really show how thankful I am for the wonderful experiences I had with them.”

Anya’s mural depicts six children from around the world coming together. They use the power of S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, The Arts, and Mathematics) to make a beautiful picture that says “CREATIVE DREAMERS.” The children all represent these words in an inclusive world and the belief that, regardless of your age, gender, religion, or ethnic background, you can achieve anything you put your mind to.

“The words “CREATIVE DREAMERS” and “S.T.E.A.M” really represent what the gifted program is, as students from all around West Orange are able to have equal access to this specialized education program,” Anya continued.

Working together with teachers, students are challenged with great opportunities to dream and turn their ideas into a reality.

“I really enjoyed creating the mural this summer!” Anya enthused.

“I worked on it extensively for three days straight. This piece of art is actually my largest one yet and I am very proud to share it with the community. It is a visual representation of the impact that the program has had on me and that I hope to have on future gifted students, the West Orange Board of Education, and generations to come with my future endeavors,” she explained.

“Anya continues to inspire us even when she has moved on to sixth grade,” noted Giacopelli and Schaller.

“Students in our Gifted Program constantly discuss the beauty and creativity of the mural and how much it adds to our classroom community. We are so thankful for her hard work in creating such an inclusive mural to represent our program and all that we do. We could not be more proud of her,” they concluded. 

Anya Mural

Anya Hughes, Rebecca Giacopelli, and Megan Schaller







Cynthia Cumming
Dec. 16, 2022