A hallway mural in honor of Huntington High School sophomore Eli Mollineaux was unveiled Tuesday night. The teenager participated in the early stages of the project before he lost his battle with Pearson Syndrome in late October.
Huntington art teachers Ayallah Jeddah, Kristin Singer, Jane Judson and Kim Valerio and special education aide Ilene Messina conceived the project during a particularly difficult stage of Mr. Mollineaux’s courageous fight that so inspired his classmates and the district’s faculty and staff members.
“We thought it would be great to create a piece of artwork that was a tribute to him and reflected his enthusiasm and zest for life,” Ms. Jeddah said. “We gave him a few different quotes and he picked one by Anne Frank: ‘Whoever is happy will make others happy, too.’ We wanted the artwork itself to reflect as many different mediums as well as people who have been connected to Eli in one way or another.”
Anne Frank’s comment and Mr. Mollineaux’s trademark “bELIeve,” which summarized his approach to daily life were then broken down in 30 individual tiles.
“Last June, Eli was having a really tough couple of weeks in school,” Ms. Singer recalled. “At that point, we decided to create a big project for Eli; more than anything, Eli loved being involved in projects and feeling connected to others.”
The artwork is impressive and is sure to be appreciated by students and teachers now and in the future as well as by visitors to the building.
“We wanted this to be a collaborative effort, so the various artists included teachers, administrators, classmates, some of his best friends as well as his brothers, Sam and Josh,” Ms. Jeddah said. “The images represented on the different tiles reflect Eli’s love for Huntington as well as different things that were personal to him. Each artist chose the medium they wanted to work in and includes everything from polymer clay, paintings, collaging and ceramics.”
Huntington students past and present, current and former teachers and administrators all participated in the project. The mural was unveiled on Tuesday night prior to the high school’s winter concert in the auditorium.
“We are grateful that we all got to know and love a piece of Eli,” Ms. Jeddah said. “It’s an honor to have his work at the head of the art hallway since he loved art so much.”
Mr. Mollineaux zest for life touched both his classmates and teachers in every school he attended during his time in the Huntington School District.
“In my 14 years teaching at Huntington High School, I have worked with many students who love art,” Ms. Singer said. “But, I have never worked with a student who was connected to art like Eli. Creating art provided such complete joy and pleasure despite all his challenges and pains. Art gave him such a sense of accomplishment and connection to others. Teaching Eli has had such a profound effect on me as a teacher and person. He has reminded me of the power of art in connecting us to others.