High West School Students Beautify Campus with Thoughts on Environment

Painting instruction photo on asphalt. thumbnail197561
Local artist Susan Vuroker demonstrates the painting technique to High School West students.

Two years in the making, students from High School West beautified their campus while raising environmental awareness early this week.

On Monday, led by marine science teacher Kimberly Williams, the students cleared debris from a storm drain by the entrance to their school. Then, on Tuesday afternoon, they returned to paint a river otter on the asphalt adjacent to that storm drain.

The plan is to continue the decorative painting projects at storm drains on each of the Smithtown Central School District’s campuses … and potentially beyond that around the town.

The image the students painted on Tuesday was a river otter, which originally had been drawn by Anthony Fasano, who graduated from High School West last year.

Fasano was inspired to paint the river otter because Williams’ class went on a canoe trip on the Nesaquake River and spotted the animal there. It had been thought to no longer inhabit that river.

“All of the students were putting their ideas down on paper for years,” Williams said of the drawings that will be painted around the district. “And today we get to put them on the ground. This is No. 1 of many — as many as we can do. We’re happy to keep going.”

The paint is specially ordered and environmentally friendly — akin to the type of yellow and white paint used on streets.

Local artist Susan Vuroker initially received a grant in 2019 from the New York Arts Council, which has funded the project. Vuroker was on hand on Tuesday to lend her artistic expertise and oversee the project.

The project is a collaborative effort between art and media students directed by Tim Needles at East and science students led by Williams at West.

“Today we’re coming to the culmination of all of their work over the years,” Williams said.