PECHS and VDOT paint snow plows

Published 4:19 pm Tuesday, December 11, 2018

High School’s work to fill a need for students has resulted in students and teachers recently establishing the Prince Edward Chapter of the National Art Honor Society (NAHS). The organization has already made a community impact, being among high schools in Virginia that have partnered with the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to paint some of the snow plows VDOT will use in the event of snow or inclement weather.

The snow plows were featured at the Farmville Christmas Parade on Dec. 2. The NAHS and VDOT won second place in the Walking Units category.

Carley Fetty, art teacher at Prince Edward County High School, said she and students decided to establish the chapter in order to help students receive a creative outlet amid their busy course loads.

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Fetty said the students needed to have taken one art related course at the high school, or if they were freshmen, they needed to have been identified as participating in advanced art at the middle school. They also needed an overall GPA of 3.2, Fetty said.

She said the chapter has 13 members ranging from freshmen to seniors. Fetty, who was also responsible for the murals painted by students along downtown Farmville earlier this summer, said Jeff Jones, a VDOT representative, contacted the school about participating in the Paint the Plows project.

“Many towns do a Paint The Plows project and he hoped to start that here which I LOVED,” Fetty said. “I responded to his email immediately and we went from there. Once the plows were dropped off they took about a week to complete.”

The Paint the Plows program, according to VDOT representative Paula Jones, encourages area Virginia schools to take on the challenge of painting murals on snow plows from VDOT.

“The Paint-a-Plow program has been underway for a few years and has received very positive feedback from schools, students and partners,” Jones said. She said the shape on the plow can pose a challenge of sorts for students, saying that the shape can potentially distort the figures if the mural isn’t carefully crafted, which Jones said requires the use of Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) skills.

According to documentation provided by VDOT, schools are encouraged to paint the murals with original, non-copyrighted artwork and can incorporate school mascots or emblems. Only the fronts of the plows are painted.

Fetty said the students used a combination of oil based paint and acrylic mural paint to paint a beautiful mural of a landscape setting, featuring the moon and the school colors of purple and gold.

The second mural focused on the Prince Edward County High School marching band, the Marching Eagles. In addition to lines of sheet music, the mural also features handprints from members of the Marching Eagles, Fetty said.

The Prince Edward County Administration Office expressed gratitude to those who participated in the murals’ development.

“The Prince Edward County Public Schools would like to thank Jeff Jones, Superintendent of the VDOT Hampden-Sydney Area Headquarters, and James Crawley, Shawn Phillips, Douglas Burton and Adam Luna, the VDOT drivers that participated in the parade, for making this unique art opportunity available to our students,” administrative officials cited in a statement.

Fetty said her hope is that the murals will stay intact for the first few snowfalls.

“Inevitably they will be washed away by the snow and salt, which we are prepared for and are OK with,” Fetty said. “After all, art isn’t always permanent but we hope that the joy it brings our community when they see them around the roads our first snow stays throughout the season.”