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PVC Art Teacher Creates 'Corridor of Courage' Mural to Inspire Students with Historical Heroes


PVC Art Teacher Creates 'Corridor of Courage' Mural to Inspire Students with Historical Heroes

On any given day, most PVC students rush through the busy hallway adjacent to the main entrance five times or more. In fact, they’ve done it so often that it took some of history’s most notable figures to get them to slow down. That thoroughfare has been transformed into the Corridor of Courage and students are paying attention. 

A passion project developed and nurtured by PVC Art teacher Wendy Armstrong, the Corridor of Courage features silhouettes of historical figures from all over the world - pioneers who, in their unwavering spirit and unrelenting perseverance, have created an important legacy. This poignant mural features 34 heroes ranging from Muhammed Ali and Maya Angelou to Jackie Robinson and Native American activist Zitkála-Šá. To further engage students in a way that they are accustomed to consuming information, a QR code is featured as part of the mural that drives viewers to a website where they can learn more about each of the individuals showcased.
Mrs. Armstrong, who joined PVC in 1998, took the concept for the Corridor of Courage from a photo she received several years ago of a school’s glass windows covered in silhouettes. As with many seeds of ideas, she filed it away, and time went on. “As I am coming to the end of my career here at Croton, I started thinking about the legacy I might leave behind, and the silhouettes once again came to mind,” she said.

To ensure that her students also had a voice in the project, Mrs. Armstrong worked with Social Studies teacher, Sarah Wellman, and asked students to nominate notable figures to be featured. Eight-grader, Maya Sherman, feels that the Corridor of Courage “shows who we are as a school.” She went on to say, “It takes a lot of courage to make a difference in the world. Walking down the hall, you feel their presence, and it gives us the courage to go through things at school.”

Mrs. Armstrong is most proud that the mural is encouraging students to engage in discussions around how to determine 'who deserves to be up on the wall?'. Instead of taking it for granted, students are having conversations with their teachers and peers, evaluating various aspects together. They are considering factors such as whether there were any aspects of the individual's life that they might disagree with, and how they contributed to making the world a better place. 

Above the silhouettes is a quote from Sir Isaac Newton: "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” It is believed that he spoke these words after he published his findings about gravity. Principal Michael Plotkin explained that this quote was selected to convey to students that those who have achieved greatness did so by building on the work of others. Other people serve as a foundation for our accomplishments.

“It’s important for our students to begin considering the impact they will have on the world and the legacy they will leave behind,” said Mr. Plotkin. 

Without a doubt, one of Mrs. Armstrong’s legacies will be the Corridor of Courage and its lasting impact on those teaching and learning at PVC.