Awareness week: Mind over matter

A deep-dive into the decade-old OPHS tradition


Photo by Tina Wang

Sahana Sri, Guest Writer

Advanced Peer Counseling’s annual Awareness Week was from Monday, Dec. 6 to Friday, Dec. 10; what better way to kick it off than by revealing this year’s hand-painted mural?

Revealed at lunch on Dec. 6, this year’s mural features colorful butterflies taking flight across a pale mountain background. Developed by APC presidents Nikita Manyak, Bellamy Burell Stevenson and Olivia O’Connell, the theme of the awareness week and the mural is “Mind Over Matter: Stronger Than You Think.” 

“This theme emphasizes our ability to persevere and be resilient during difficult and challenging times,” co-adviser and co-teacher for the APC program Jenny Charrett said.

And persevere we have. From the destructive Woolsey fire in 2018 and isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, Oak Park High School has been living through history every day. Teachers and students alike worked tirelessly to make this school year as normal and safe as possible.

This introduces another reason this mural represents the theme for this year; it took the combined efforts of so many people to be able to make a smooth return to school. 

Many people are involved with the mural,” Charrett said. “Mrs. Mendez and her AP art students have contributed greatly to the creation of the mural.” 

Some individuals who played a vital role in the process — whether it was helping to come up with themes or painting the mural itself — were Justine Bolton, Aviva Medved, Charlotte Scott, Tunga Jois, Georgia Tribe, Ella Shulze, Bellamy Burrell Stevenson, Olivia O’Connell and Nikita Manyak.

Awareness Week has been in place for over a decade. Starting in 2010, each APC class developed and painted a mural to hang at the school. Past murals are displayed near the Great Lawn.