One thousand handprints to help Alhambra students feel engaged in school

Garfield Elementary School completed a mural Tuesday made entirely out of handprints. Nearly 1,000 students, staff, and parents have dipped their fingers in paint and contributed to the 40-foot-long mural of a wildcat, the school's mascot. SPARK Afterschool Academy, an after-school tutoring and enrichment program, sponsored the art mural in hopes that the community will learn more about their program and feel more engaged with school.

A Garfield student adding to the mural.

"The beauty of this is that the whole community comes out to do this together," said Linda Wong, SPARK executive director and a Brightwood Elementary alumni and parent. "The idea is that we all have a hand in student success."

Garfield Principal Anna Kuo hopes SPARK and the community art mural will grow both in Alhambra Unified School District and beyond. "The program is wonderful," Kuo said. "I heard one of the kids say, 'Our school is the best.' They're feeling good about themselves. That's what matters."

The completed mural. | Photo courtesy of SPARK.

SPARK also sponsored murals at Monterey Highlands and Brightwood elementary schools and is hoping to expand to others in the district. The program offers tutoring and homework help, character development, conflict resolution, finance management skills, and enrichment activities such as dance, cooking, art, chess, yoga, and martial arts. SPARK is tuition based but scholarships are available. To learn more, visit the SPARK Afterschool Academy website

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