Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

St. Helena gym remake reveals artistic contributions

Posted on 23 July 2018 by calvin

Above: The St. Helena gym remake now provides a stunning background for performances. (Photo submitted)

To the Editor:
I first heard this challenge put to a group of St. Helena volunteers and children when the WorldLegecy team CN166 performed their magic to produce our playground and basketball court enhancements. Mike Russell and his wife Jill were there, and I swear I saw a light go on that has only shown brighter and brighter. An artist was there that nobody other than Jill and a few close friends knew. Let me show you what that light and that artist have projected on the walls of our gymnasium.

Photo right: Artist disguised as ordinary painter. (Photo submitted)

We are a humble school that can only offer excellence to our students by being frugal with the dollars we try so hard to secure. Our gym walls had been a faded light blue since 2002 when the last group of volunteers made the sacrifice of their time and talent.

Photo left: “Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.” (Photo submitted)

Mike Russell capitalized on the momentum of the playground miracle to perform yet another. His energy and enthusiasm were enough to impress Dave at Hirschfield’s to donate all the blue and white paint for the gym project, and Orlando at Thrivent Financial and Dave at Diamond Lake Hardware found Mike’s appeal irresistible and went out of their way to supply materials needed for the job. I will not burden this article with a list of paint-slinging volunteers but know that they were impressive, capable, and smiling. The fresh white and the new blue have been a big beautiful change and one that sets a vibrant backdrop for every new gym activity of which there are many. Mike was not done.

Photo right: “Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray.” (Photo submitted)

A version of Mike Russell started to appear, and he has given our school a gift that no one could have imagined. Inspirational and motivational quotes began to appear elaborately scripted on the walls around our gym, and an image of our patroness Saint Helena started to take form on the wall behind our stage. Saint Rocco and Saint Catherine appear at her sides to give her company, and color, donated by Ben at Sherwin Williams, begins to find its place in the creation. You can find their stained glass representations on our church doors, so the mural serves to unite our church even more closely with our school. You cannot help but marvel at what has been produced on this concrete canvas.

Photo left: “Earn the right to be proud and confident.” (Photo submitted)

Now that this version of Mike has surfaced, you must find ways to feed it. Think of a project where he can exhibit the talent he has recently shown and help him unlock the talent he has yet to discover in himself. You both will benefit from the exercise. Please find an opportunity to come and see this artwork we now call our gymnasium ( You might even have the light go on in your own heart and step up to this challenge.

Jane Hileman, Principal
St. Helena Catholic School