Celebrating Cherokee’s creative ceiling tiles

Anyone who walks down the halls at Cherokee’s main campus will first notice the many painted ceiling tiles that add color to the ceiling. These tiles are a tradition that began many years ago at Cherokee, and one that continues today.

The ceiling tiles decorate main campus in the 100, 200, and 300 hallways. They began as an end-of-the-year extra credit project around two decades ago for students in their lit classes, to depict a work they studied in the class that year.

The project started with Ms. Whitaker, who has since retired, and spread to others in the lit department. Now this task has fallen to Mr. Jones’ and Mrs. Eller’s honors classes, and the ceiling of 300 hall is full of colorful and artistic depictions of many works, including classic novels, modern fiction, and stories from mythology.

And the tiling has spread outside of literature. At the end of 100 hall are a few tessellations and freeze patterns (think of the work of the artist Escher), and other teachers in the 400 hall have also displayed students’ artwork on the ceilings.

On the 100 hall, the ceiling tiles project began in 2007, making some tiles almost 15 years old.

After some time, enough ceiling tiles have been painted, so the 300 hall is filled. This did not stop the students, however. Now honors lit students paint canvases, which are displayed in their teacher’s classrooms. Mrs. Eller also has a few windows in the hallway that are painted by students, and Mrs. Hemphill’s room is also filled with student art. In addition, the former freshman lit teacher, Mr. Williams, was known to have many student-painted canvases.

As for the 100 hall, the ceiling art for the math department began with Ms. Parks. Although the hallway is not as abundant with painted tiles as the 300 hall, there are still many creative artworks displayed on the end closer to the breezeway.

Since the tessellations and freeze patterns unit has been omitted from the geometry curriculum, students no longer paint ceiling tiles on the math hallway. However, all it takes is one teacher and a few creative students to restart painting once again.

I think the painted tiles add character to the math hallway because if you walk down 200 hall and 300 hall, the literature teachers would do the same type of project, but using a student’s all-time favorite book or a current book that they have read during their classes. 

Also, tessellations are so fun and easy to create, and it gives students the opportunity to showcase their creative side that would not normally be seen in math.

Mrs. Parks

Cherokee is proud to support student artwork, even when it creatively spans to the ceiling. The tiles are a source of Warrior pride and overwhelming evidence of the artistic and creative abilities that students bring to school each day.

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