Vision, passion, and collaboration have merged to allow a legacy of school spirit to thrive at Battle Ground High School (BGHS). Four students, inspired by a field trip to a Portland art show, dreamt of a work of art that would share a vision of BGHS with generations to come. Students Kateyln Lindstrom, Sarah Wick, Savanna Watson, and Tori Homola, with the help of their art instructor Valinda Krieger, created a five foot high clay totem called, “Tiger Tracks in Time,” now on permanent display at the high school’s Bob Peck Art Gallery. A totem is a symbol that tells a specific story about a group of people meant for the time and place of its inspiration. This totem tells the history, spirit, and impact of BGHS on its students and community. These four young women spent hundreds of hours after school, on weekends, and at home to plan and create this unique piece of art.
The totem is established on the foundation of the school district itself, using original bricks from the central school building as its base.
The main piece of the totem is a tiger, representing the student body. With an open mouth, it is ready to consume the knowledge and experiences that comprise a student’s high school career. On top of the tiger is an apple representing learning, and a peanut butter sandwich, representing the fun and the social aspect of school. This is followed by a “Book of Life,” containing the knowledge gained through coursework and friendships expressed through the annual signing of yearbooks, a keepsake that is revisited again and again as the years pass. In the book we find a small caterpillar egg, representing the transformation of a student as they grow and embark on life’s journey. This theme continues throughout the totem with a mature caterpillar found chewing the apple of knowledge, and a chrysalis on the edge of the “Book of Life.” The story continues with a large butterfly, with the face of a tiger, made from a combination of pottery and glass. The butterfly is flying away from the totem, symbolizing graduation and a new beginning. Next we find a Ticonderoga # 2 pencil with the inscription, “BG 1, UTC” standing for “Battle Ground is #1, Unity Toughness, Class” a school motto. On top of it all, a single room school house represents the district’s centennial and a tiger wearing a graduation cap signifies a great life achievement. On top of the school’s roof are small tiger paw prints, representing the impression BGHS students leave as they work their way to graduation.
Art speaks volumes over generations. Thanks to the support of district facilities crew members who helped install and secure the piece, the woodshop class who made the base for the display case, and the 2012 senior class who raised the funds for the protective case. This piece of art will be on display for years of enjoyment. The totem is the cornerstone of the Bob Peck Gallery and is surrounded by artwork that lines the gallery and hallways, created by students for students, as a way of personal expression and storytelling. Art is an important part of students’ learning and permanent displays can be found throughout the district. Some pieces share local history like the History of the Yacolt Burn on display at Yacolt Primary. Others teach lessons from the life cycle of salmon to the importance of reading. All Battle Ground schools promote art education as an important component to student’s academic achievement.
The tradition and importance of art in the Battle Ground School District can be seen though the annual art show, now on its 55th year. Artworks from all grade levels across the district are displayed through the hallways of Captain Strong Primary School. The pieces are available for public viewing May 5 – 26, with a reception for student artists at the BGPS Board of Directors meeting, on May 12, at 6:30 p.m., in the Captain Strong Primary commons.
The board will recognize first place winners, Art Alliance winners, and announce the superintendent’s choice which will be placed on permanent display. Students, parents, and community members are invited to participate in the district art show by viewing the pieces on display and joining board members during the reception on May 12.