Students graduating from Ames High School do so hoping to leave their mark. For senior choir students, they literally have been on the walls of the choir room.
Since 2006, it has been AHS tradition for senior singers to paint one of the blocks which form the walls of the choir room. With over 200 blocks covered with names, icons, and images that identify with each individual student, it’s a room full of history that resonates happiness and hope.
“It was Steve Linn’s idea to paint the squares,” said Peggy Dieter, retired AHS chorus teacher. “I do not know what inspired this idea. I think the room looked dull and he wanted some color on the walls.”
At just over seven inches square, sometimes the most difficult part is what to paint. Some squares feature students collaborating for their painting such as the three squares in a row with the notation “three peas in a pod.” In another part of the room, two 2006 graduates who would later marry paint squares one apart from each other. Some are very elaborate, such as the crossword puzzle square, and some are very simple with just a name and year. In addition, several siblings have chosen to paint squares next to each other.
“That is very special to me,” says Dieter, who walks throughout the room and points out squares for each student and tells their story. “Unfortunately, 2020 seniors did not get the opportunity to paint a square and that is very sad to me.”
Each class also paints one square with their graduation year on it. In the initial years through 2012, they are just simple stars with the year. Then, a fun competition began in 2013, with each class trying to be more creative with their star. From the Captain America star, to Patrick Star from Spongebob Squarepants, to the Hamilton star, each square gets more and more elaborate, revealing the true individuality of each class to have entered the choir room.
“I think they enjoy leaving something to remember them by,” concludes Dieter.