The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

The Student News Site of Tenafly High School

The Echo

Sophomore Paints Clock Murals

Mr. Whitehead
Clock outside Room 231

If you’ve recently passed by the English wings, you’ve probably noticed the colorful murals around the two clocks at the ends of one of its hallways. The swirls of purple paint strokes around the clock above Room 231 emulate an ominous night sky, while the clock above Room 215 has strokes of sunlight painted around it. These are the works of Milana Frias (’26), a passionate painter eager to explore her creative expression at THS. 

The clock outside Room 215

“Art is one of my favorite things to do,” Frias said. “I’m not sure whether I want to become an artist, but I definitely want to use art to get into college.”

Frias volunteered to paint the murals after Ms. Allen pitched the idea to the Art club after consulting with Dr. Rabinowitz, who had noticed the relative bareness of the walls of the English hallways compared to those of other hallways. As an artist who creates projects of her own, Frias was intrigued by the proposal. 

“I thought it sounded really fun,” Frias said. “I had never really painted on a wall before, and the idea of painting around clocks was really creative.”

A newcomer to Tenafly, Frias started attending THS in September as a sophomore. To Frias, painting the murals was symbolic of the start of her life in Tenafly and showcasing her artistry in a brand new environment.

“I decided it was a good way to begin my first year, and a nice way to make a contribution to a new school,” Frias said.

The theme of the murals concerns two of the Earth’s constant companions—the moon and the sun. Frias used the round shapes of the clocks to make each of the clocks at the ends of the hallway echo petite versions of these celestial bodies. 

The clock above Room 231 has an outline of green, blue, and white to enliven the color scheme of the piece and depict the outlines of the moon. If you look closely, you can see the details of small craters on the outline. The part of the mural that adds to its mystique, though, is how the white of the moon doesn’t distinctly separate itself from the purple sky, but instead blends and becomes part of its dark swirls. Moreover, as the dark-purple sky expands sideways, it becomes mixed with hues of magenta and white, sweetening the background that may have otherwise looked dull. Adding garnish to the mural are specks of sparkles painted in the dark sky, creating a shimmering effect on the moon and giving the piece a final stylistic touch. 

Milana Frias painting the clock outside Room 215. Photo: Mr. Whitehead

The clock above Room 215 is unfinished, but the yellow curves of sunlight painted around it have already formed the model of a sun. 

According to Frias, the steady progress of the murals was a result of her weekly dedications through sacrificing her lunch hours and even staying after school to work on them.

“I work on the murals every Friday with the exception of a few,” Frias said. “I get my paints and materials during lunch and then borrow the janitor’s ladder.”

While she will be busy in the spring with lacrosse, Frias expressed her desire to extend her paint strokes beyond the clocks to the bare hallways waiting to be covered with student creativity.

“The ideal plan would be to paint the whole English hallway,” Frias said.” But for now, I’m just focusing on finishing the clock. I’ll see what I can do.” 

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About the Contributors
Heeseo Yoon
Heeseo Yoon, Junior Editor
Heeseo Yoon ('25), Echo's Junior Editor, enjoys writing about world affairs and creating cartoons.
Mr. Whitehead
Mr. Whitehead, Echo Advisor
Mr. Whitehead is a teacher, poet, and crossword constructor. He has taught English at THS for twenty-seven years. His poems have appeared widely in journals and magazines, most notably in The New Yorker. His fourth collection of poems, Strange What Rises, was published by Terrapin Books in 2019. His third book, A Glossary of Chickens, was published by Princeton University Press in 2013. His crosswords have appeared in The New York Times, The L.A. Times, USA Today, Games Magazine, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. He's excited to be advising The Echo. He was named by the New Jersey Department of Education as the 2024 Bergen County Teacher of the Year, and he was a finalist for the 2024 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year.