Kenilworth, Community

Huge mural unveiled to highlight special Sears School homecoming

Homecoming at The Joseph Sears School meant a bit more this year and the community acted accordingly.

Hundreds came out on Saturday, Sept. 30, to celebrate the school’s 125th anniversary, significant campus improvements, new mural and more.

School officials began the day by unveiling a large, colorful mural painted across one of the school’s exterior walls. Artist Molly Zakrajsek, better known as MollyZ, created the piece with guidance from Sears leadership and in a description of the art she wrote, “The hope for this mural is to transform the school wall-scape into a vibrant, welcoming gathering space honoring the expression of children engaged in play, learning, and discovery.”

The Sears mascot and a Sears family in a photo during the homecoming festivities Sept. 30.

Sears Assistant Principal Marty Heffner said the mural incorporates concepts that are important to the school, such as its four cornerstones: respect, honesty, responsibility and kindness. Also recognized in the mural are the four attributes in a Portrait of a Sears Graduate, which are fearless learner, compassionate citizen, creative thinker and courageous advocate. The mural’s four-pointed stars represent the ideals.

“(The mural) brings a lot o color and light just to our community as a whole,” Heffner said.

The homecoming celebration also included a rededication of Sears’ peace pole, garden arch and trail marker tree rock; the introduction of the Sears school Alumni Hall of Honor class; a community kickball game; and tours of the school, focusing on the new spaces and amenities.

The school’s recently completed a $25-million renovation project that includes a 13,000-square-foot addition, and new library and tech center, among other things.

Sears Principal Stephanie Helfand speaks with a homecoming guest inside the renovated school.

“Tours were a bit more meaningful this time around,” Heffner said. “It’s a nice way to blend the previous building and our 125-year history.”

It was the third year Sears has hosted a homecoming. The school’s Joseph Sears School Parents’ Volunteer Association and boosters play an integral role in putting the event together.

Heffner said the school is “fortunate to have such a supportive parent volunteer group” that put together a day that meant a lot to the school.

“It was a remarkable way to bring the community together,” he said. “We have a strong and invested Sears community and we are so fortunate to have that here as a district. An event like this really brings the community together — past, present and future.”

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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