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'By the time they're graduating from high school, this mural will still be here'

Under the watchful eye of artist-in-residence Steven Lopez, the kids at Fairfield Elementary School are creating a full-size wall mural. (SBG)

EUGENE, Ore. - Under the watchful eye of artist-in-residence Steven Lopez, the kids at Fairfield Elementary School are creating a full-size wall mural.

"Some of the main important parts of the project is to not color outside the line, but also be very thorough," Lopez said.

The project sprouted from a $1,000 donation from Essex Construction, with matching money from the Bethel Education Foundation.

For these budding artists, this experience is second to none.

"I like it because it's very artistic and that I really like all the colors," 2nd-grader Lyra said.

"I might be an artist when I grow up," classmate Haylei added.

Central to the motif is the Fairfield Falcon and the school's guiding principles: be safe, be respectful, be responsible.

"It makes our students able to internalize that message in a way that they feel like not only do they have ownership of our school and of the walls but they have ownership of why they're here," teacher Echo Groff said.

And that connection should last for years to come.

"These students who graduate from here, I guarantee by the time they're graduating from high school, this mural will still be here," Lopez said.

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