More than 300 students at Peoria Accelerated High School helped create a mural that symbolizes unity, growth and taking the next steps in life.
The first part of the mural, a tree, was started in 2015 with the help of a grant from the Arizona Arts Commission. The final phase will be unveiled to the public Thursday evening around 5 p.m.
For 17-year-old junior Jasmine Silvas-Rocha, seeing this mural come together over this past school year has been pure joy.
"It makes me feel happy knowing my bird is a part of this," said Silvas-Rocha.
More than 300 students at Peoria Accelerated High School helped add on to this work of art by constructing more than 200 beautiful birds.
"The tree is supposed to represent the staff and the parents that are the roots and we help the students grow and blossom. So the students helped to grow the flowers and the leaves. They inscribed the leaves with words that were meaningful to them," said art instructor Margaret Lieu, who's been teaching at the school for six years.
Lieu is the teacher fueling these students' passion. The alternative school is the last opportunity for many of these students who come from diverse and challenging backgrounds.
"My favorite part is seeing the students coming out and them searching for other students' or their own artwork and sharing something of themselves," said Lieu.
The work of art is thanks to two grants from the Arizona Arts Commission. The latest $10,000 went toward adding the birds. For students here, it represents hope for their futures.
"It means unity, all of the students coming together and flying," said 18-year-old senior, Isai Avila.
"It feels good knowing we’re leaving something behind for future students," said Perla Estrada, who graduates this year and has a bird on the mural.
"It just means growth and learning new things," Cole Glasgow, a junior who was excited to be a part of the project.
As for Jasmine Silvas Rocha, whose bird flies high on this mural, it means overcoming any challenge no matter what the obstacles
"I feel like a lot of people do come here with a lot of things going on. The school is so helpful no matter you have going on," said Silvas-Rocha.
Margaret Lieu says they don’t plan to add onto this mural. They will be working on a community garden next year.