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Student mural recognizes soldier sacrifices

The painting is not your typical multi-colored, playful scene found in many schools.

On the wall of Michelle Riba's classroom at New Richmond High School is a recently completed mural commemorating the sacrifice of our country's soldiers during the major wars.

The scene depicts a solitary soldier, standing among the grave markers of comrades. The subdued colors used in the mural promote a somber mood.

Along the top of the mural are paintings of common headgear found during seven war eras -- the American Revolution, Civil War, World War I, World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and Iraq War.

Two New Richmond High School students are responsible for the finished piece of art. Theresa Radtke and Megan Swanson spent more than a month on the project.

"Theresa and Megan created a mural from a concept that I provided, which was to honor the soldiers who have served America in war," Riba explained. "They worked on their own time, before and after school, and at their own initiative (no credits)."

The finished product helps set the appropriate tone for those who see it, Riba added.

"It is a work from the heart and brings to mind every day the sacrifices that soldiers have made for us to enjoy the life that we are able to enjoy in the United States," she said.

An open house is planned from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, April 27, to allow the public to see the new mural. The gathering is the same night of the Arts Night and Talent Show at the high school.

People interested in seeing the mural can stop by Room 3 at that time.

"I'm very happy with it," artist Swanson said of the finished work. "I think it's awesome."

Radtke agreed, noting that the two friends share a passion for art.

"Our whole morning is art," she said of their class schedule.

The seniors are excited about the plan to show off their artwork to the public.

"I'm psyched," Radtke said.

Even more, Swanson said she's excited that the mural will remain on the wall as a reminder for future generations of students to come.

"We kind of wanted to leave our mark on the school," she said.