Mural rededication ceremony to take place in auditorium


Photo courtesy of Jennifer Huntington.

Tali Falk-Judson

Students and teachers will rededicate a mural honoring soldiers who died in World War I during E-block Thursday, Nov. 9, in the auditorium.
The mural originally hung in North’s old building as a memorial to lieutenant Stafford Leighton Brown, Class of 1915, who died in World War I, according to Jennifer Huntington, North’s principal from 1999 to 2006.
“It felt appropriate that we rededicate the mural on the 100th anniversary of the United States entering World War I,” said history department head Jonathan Bassett, who helped coordinate the restoration of the mural.
According to principal Henry Turner, the rededication ceremony will feature speeches from himself and superintendent David Fleishman, as well as Leadership students reading the names of fallen North graduates.
“I think the ceremony will be good,” said Turner. “I hope that students will learn a little about the school that they go to and learn a little bit about Newton’s history through the mural.”
The mural was painted in 1936 by artist Maurice Compris as part of president Franklin Roosevelt’s Works Project Administration. It was donated to the school by Eugenia Brown, the mother of lieutenant Brown, in remembrance of her son and the rest of the soldiers killed in the war, according to Huntington.
Originally, the mural hung in the library of the Newton high school building and then the cafeteria of the old Newton North building, according to Bassett.
“When we moved into the new building, as one of the holdovers, I was tasked with looking after some of the art pieces from the old building,” said Bassett. “The mural was made in three panels, a main large one and then two side panels, so we have had to work on each individually.”
According to Huntington, former principal Jennifer Price and Basset tasked her with getting together the funds and the plans for the restoration.  “This coming Thursday will be the end of quite a long road. The whole process has taken nearly two years,” Huntington added.
“I think people who remember the mural from the old building will be really impressed with how beautiful the restoration is and how vibrant the colors are and how they really did a wonderful job with the whole thing,” said Bassett.
The main panel of the mural hangs on Main Street, and the two other panels will be hung next to the auditorium because of the lack of space for the full mural to be hung together, according to Turner.