Students from Notre Dame High School recently repaired and repainted a statue of Mary that had been damaged from being outside. LEFT: Alexis Alfaro (foreground) and Emily Rubio (background). LEFT CENTER: Members of the art club. RIGHT CENTER: Destiny Chavez. RIGHT: From left to right, Ayanna Grunwald, Claudette Goux, Yessenia Barron and Emily Rubio.
RIVERSIDE—In October, students from Notre Dame High School’s Art Club completed a project to restore a statue of the Virgin Mary that was weathered from sitting outdoors in the school garden.
Seven students from the Art Club – Alexis Alfaro, Destiny Chavez, Angelica Cruz, Aliyah Gonzalez, Ayanna Grunwald, Emily Rubio and Elizabeth Tran – participated in the restoration, assisted by their club moderator Yessenia Barron, who is also a fine arts teacher at Notre Dame. The students each contributed at least two hours to the project, working on it after school.
“The students and I were inspired by our school community. We felt that by contributing to the school garden, we would be able to create a space for students to draw closer to God’s creation and to Mother Mary,” said Barron.
At the suggestion of Claudette Goux, a French and photography teacher and club moderator for the Gardening Club, the Art Club began work on restoring the statue.
“We started with club members washing the statue and cleaning every crevice with soap and water. The students then started to paint the large areas and work their way down to the smaller details and plenty of touch-ups to the face, hands, feet and robe,” said Barron.
Another change to the statue is to the face – one of the students suggested changing the Blessed Mother’s expression so that her eyes are now closed in prayer. “Now Mother Mary is in a manner where she is praying and watching over God’s creation,” said Barron.
The restoration is the third community-oriented project that the Art Club has completed. In 2019, they created a mural for Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, Riverside, and in 2020, they painted the crest logo for Notre Dame.
“[These three projects] have allowed us to live out our school’s mission statement by engaging with the community and showing the true definition of Cor Unum et Anima Una,” said Barron. Cor Unum et Anima Una translates to One Heart and One Spirit and is the Riverside school’s charism.
The seven students who participated in the project were recognized with the Cor Unum Award, an honor given to students who exemplify the school’s charism through their actions.
“It was a lovely opportunity to restore the Mother Mary statue ... it brought a new light to the school garden. Overall, it allowed us to reflect as a club on what it means to give back to our school community. The students did an outstanding job in restoring the statue and I am very proud of each of them for volunteering their time towards this project,” said Barron.