West Branch Students Paint Murals at Bigler CenClear

West Branch Art Department partners with CenClear to create murals at the Bigler Preschool.


Image/Graphics by Julie Noal; The Progress News

Ms. Steffan and the students pose in front of one of the murals. Pictured left to right: Rachel Steffan, Ashleigha Grossi, Breanna Rinehart, Shaela Gillen, and Carly Watro.

West Branch art teacher Rachel Steffan partnered with CenClear to create nature-based artwork on the Preschool walls over the summer months. Ms. Steffan had help from a few students: Breanna Rinehart, Carly Watro, Ashleigha Grossi, and Shaela Gillen.

The project lasted for six weeks across July and August. The group painted giant dandelions, mushrooms, butterflies, insects, and snails on the Cenclear Preschool walls as a warm welcome for the pre-k students. Ms. Steffan explains, “it was a lot of research; looking for ideas online and deciding which imagery to focus on.” She and two student painters gave a brief presentation to the West Branch School Board to share the finished work. They described the process and the influence the nature-based focus will hopefully have on the preschool/HeadStart students.

All the students who participated in the art expressed their enjoyment of the project. Ashleigha Grossi said she appreciated “the shading and the new ideas forming in everyone’s head.” Joining was a positive social experience for the students and Ms. Steffan. CenClear had been the one to reach out first to see if Ms. Steffan would take on the project, which she accepted and invited the four students because it was a powerful service learning opportunity.

Ms. Steffan hopes to go back for round two next summer and even start murals around our West Branch walls. She plans to paint some murals in the wood shop, naming each machine and the safety guidelines to help other students while they work on projects. Lastly, Ms. Steffan wishes to find a local business that would like to display her students’ artwork this year and in years to come. In the meantime, keep an eye out for the student artwork exhibited around the West Branch building.


“I think service learning is very important as it provides learning opportunities which fulfill a greater need to others in the community, so I intend to be on the lookout for any way we can use our student artwork for that purpose.” – Ms. Steffan