By Linda White
A connection to their family heritage inspired the“Pathfinders,” one of Bedford High School’s Tenacity Challenge teams, to create a mural that reflects the challenges their relatives faced immigrating from El Salvador, Cuba, Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The three-person team was comprised of BHS seniors Rodney Payton, Peter Richards, and Alexa Torres. Respectful of the opinions, input, experience, passion and creativity each member brought to the project, they are a team connected by more than their collective heritage. They easily and politely shared the spotlight when talking about their project.
Alexa Torres, a second-year Tenacity participant commented, “I know how difficult it was for my mother, and how hard she has worked, to come to the United States from the Dominican Republic hoping to make a better life for our family. The hope to experience and participate in the “American Dream” includes a desire for greater opportunity, education, wealth, job opportunity and freedom from racial bias. These are things that are not givens, and they do not happen just by coming to the United States. Everyone has to find their own path to realize the American Dream.”
Peter Richards, also a second-year Tenacity participant, explained how the design for their mural came together. “The mural includes the images of where we have come from and our native flags. Surrounding an image of the United States which is central to the mural, are expressions of what people hope to find when they come to this country. Inside the image of the United States are some of the issues that present challenges people must face even here.”
Rodney Payton, a first-year Tenacity participant continued, “The problems identified within the borders of the United States are many of the same challenges many other immigrant groups have faced. We all need to work together to improve our experience. The American Dream is a strong motivator and a common goal.”
In addition to Bedford’s entry, each of the schools in the 2016 competition submitted a mural for consideration. “I’m blown away by the talent these students have brought to this year’s Challenge,” said judge Candace Banks of the BHS Art Department.