New student mural aims to brighten ACE hallway


Nina Rogers

Senior Angel Zayas has been working on a mural for the ACE hallway. Zayas has painted several murals in the past as he has been involved with the Boston Mural Crew since his freshman year.

Nina Rogers, Staff Writer

The Alternative Choices in Education (ACE) corridor, once barren and dark, will soon be illuminated with a stunning new student mural.

Senior Angel Zayas, a member of ACE, has been in the process of designing a new mural to beautify the ACE space. In his attempts to do so, he has united the ACE community around a central project.

The ACE program is a non-traditional approach to learning for students who feel that the typical method is not right for them. ACE guidance counselor Kara Lopez explains how the program works.

“One of the components is that we do competency-based learning. Essentially, you move forward once you’ve demonstrated that you have achieved competency in an area,” Lopez said. “The reason why the component is really important is we believe that there are many ways that students can demonstrate what they know and that it’s not just through tests and quizzes.”

Zayas decided last year to combine two things that he enjoys: ACE and his artwork.

Zayas has been involved in the Boston Mural Crew since his freshman year and has painted numerous murals over the past three years, but his interest in art started all the way back in kindergarten.

“There’s no rules to it. You can just do what you want. It can be bad, it can be good, but either way, it’s art,” Zayas said.

The first ideas for painting the mural came after students and staff looked more closely at the archway in the ACE corridor and thought it would be a prime place to hang some student art to beautify the space. Zayas immediately thought of putting a mural of with a tunnel in the arch because of its shape.

Zayas eventually expanded upon his idea to include a train. ACE coordinator Amy Bayer said the images are a good metaphor for the program.

“The train is really about a ‘train of opportunity’ leading out into the world and thinking about the horizons that students can reach beyond the tunnel, like the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ metaphor,” Bayer said.

With the help of the Director of the Arts and Fusion Lab and performing arts teacher Christien Polos, Zayas began working on the mural last year and opened up his idea to include the other students in ACE.

“Angel is asking people to come up with names that are representative of ACE,” said Lopez. “Things that they feel in ACE, things that they see in ACE, things that they do in ACE.”

Zayas then had students write out these words in any way of their choosing and attached them to the mural, framing the train. In all different fonts and colors, the words do their job and immediately draw the attention of anyone who passes by.

Bayer reflected on the impact of the project.

“I think it’s really important for our ACE students to see that the space is theirs,” Bayer. said. “I also think the way that Angel has designed it should be inspirational. Sometimes school can be hard, and there are days when students need something to kind of remind them and motivate them. I think it will be really helpful in that way, for lifting our spirits.”