Senior High School Mural Depicts 'Community of School'

  • Long before the Class of 2011 donated the magnificent lion sculpture to the Senior High School, a different class made a lasting gift to their alma mater. Students in the Class of 1993 determined that a mural highlighting key moments of their high school experience would be added to the cafeteria wall.

    The 7’ x 34’ acrylic on canvas mural adorns the main wall, capturing the imagination of students while they eat for the past 28 years. It is titled “Community of School” and is meant to highlight the various aspects of high school in Rush-Henrietta. Although it depicts special moments from the early 90s, the scenes pictured resonate today. Classes, play practice, music, and sports meld with iconic community images such as road signs, The Dome, signs for the towns of Rush and Henrietta, the 7-Eleven, and Wegmans.

    The artist was P. D. Avallone, who captured the likeness of many actual students and employees to create the masterpiece. Avallone is a renowned painter who taught at RIT, SUNY Brockport, and the Rochester City School District. He also worked with the George Eastman House as chief designer and fabricator in the photography collection. Those who have visited Suburban Animal Hospital may recognize the mural over the reception desk as his work as well.

    Many of the people pictured were actively involved with the creation of the mural, and those who made special contributions are noted on the student’s desk and the blue band behind the Welcome to Henrietta sign. People familiar with the project like to point out the various people portrayed. The principal, Morris Mallory, is in the blue suit jacket to the right of the table at the middle of the painting. Teacher Richard Ayer is opposite him on the left of the table. Teacher and theater director Bob Sagan is crouched in front of the stage where students Wendi Rice and Rich Anthony rehearse a scene.

    Christopher Tanski, who was the Senior High School principal from 1994 until his sudden passing in 2000, was added to the mural after his death as a tribute. He is pictured under the gymnast, leaning confidently against the wall.

    Many thanks to members of the community who helped to identify several of the people pictured! While the identities of many of the people in the mural are well known, others continue to be debated. There are several athletes portrayed, both in various background scenes and in four medallions depicting various sports, and there is some disagreement as to who some of the athletes are. 

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