Inspiring mural in Westside Middle School painted by student as a reward

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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT)-- What started as a challenge to encourage a student to get good grades, turned into an art piece that is here to stay at Westside Middle School.

Last spring Spanish teacher, Kelly Schulz, issued a challenge to one of her students.

“I made him a deal if he could get good grades-I’d find him a wall to paint,” said Schulz.

Jorge Sanchez accepted.

This summer the blank wall across the hall from the library in Westside Middle School became his canvas, with help from local artist Rob Crawford.

“It was daunting, I’ve never done something so large before,” said Crawford.

They set out to make a mural about possibilities.

“This sort of opened my options,” said Sanchez.

They had helpers and models both big and small, and by the end of July, the mural had come together.

“Whatever you do today is going to affect your future. This is where it starts to matter. So if it has meaning, that’s why we put astronauts at the end. You literally leave the planets. The possibilities are endless after that,” said Crawford.

Sanchez is a high school freshman now and aspires to be a graffiti artist.

Teachers say it’s great to see other students standing against the silhouettes of the ballerina or football player, and imagining the possibilities.