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Mural grows wings

Local Boy Scout unveils Eagle Scout project at Columbus Elementary School.

April 25, 2011|By Megan O'Neil, megan.oneil@latimes.com

The Columbus Elementary School mural — a depiction of the school’s mascot, the eagle — had been a welcoming sight to students and visitors for years. For William Kaufmann, 16, who attended Columbus for seven years and was raised near the school, it was a landmark.

But the mural disappeared in 2008 along with several old campus buildings amid a major modernization project. It was strange to look over at the school and not see the eagle, William said.

So when it came time to develop a project required to earn the Eagle Scout award from Boy Scouts of America, he immediately thought of his alma mater.

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“When the school was remodeled, they had a mural on the wall, and it came down with the building,” William said. “I decided I’d try and see if they wanted a new one.”

He would end up spending more than a year researching his options, meeting with Glendale Unified administrators and raising funds.

“He has done a great job,” Principal Beatriz Bautista said. “His communication with me has been constant.…He is a great kid.”

School officials wanted to ensure that the new mural would not go the way of the old, so they requested that William design a project that would survive any future construction. He decided to have a rendering of an eagle made on all-weather canvas that could be moved from building to building.

William raised more than $500 for the project through various fundraisers, including a pancake breakfast at Grandview Presbyterian Church. He created an original design and sent the piece off to a company that ink-jetted the drawing onto the canvas.

He and fellow Scouts worked over the weekend to install bolts in an unadorned wall on the exterior of the auditorium. And the 8-by-8-foot mural was unfurled at a special ceremony Monday morning as the student body sang a rowdy rendition of the school’s fight song, the eagles cheer.

William showed a great deal of responsibility throughout the project, said his mother, Diane Kaufmann.

“He ended up getting into a car accident right before one of the fundraisers — it was a pancake breakfast at the church that sponsors us — and he showed up on crutches,” she said. “Everybody thought he would be a no-show, and he showed up on crutches, one hand serving the orange juice and coffee.”

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