GLSD Annual Art Gala Another Masterpiece

GLSD Annual Art Gala Another Masterpiece

This year marked the 76th anniversary of the remarkable tradition that sets Greater Latrobe Senior High School apart from every other school in America. On a yearly basis the student council chooses several pieces of art by local artists to be considered to grace the halls of the high school. Along with this tradition comes the annual Art Gala. During this fundraiser, money is raised for the upkeep and care of the paintings.

Taking place in the high school, the event spanned from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November first.  The Commons Area and CSC were transformed into a festive, autumnal themed social scene. Guests milled about enjoying hors d’oeuvres, and music, showcasing the piano talents of both Mrs. Snyder and junior Miko Reyes. The atmosphere was perfect for observing the new paintings under consideration, talking with the artists, and enjoying the history behind this long standing tradition.

Beginning in 1936, students have been raising the money to purchase paintings. Each painting that hangs on the walls is selected based upon the majority vote of the student body.  Every one of them is “student chosen and student bought” which makes the collection unlike any other, James Okonak of the Art Trust Fund said.  Having this thread that connects students from almost 80 years ago to current students provides “value to the students” and a “relationship to the past as well as the present and the future,” Okonak added. “It brings the student body together to have a sense of ownership.” Very few schools can say the same.

The students, too, feel very strongly about the importance of keeping the tradition alive. “It’s important that the students are able to express their interests along with the community,” said senior Mary Fratto. “It’s really cool to keep adding to the collection that we already have making the school very interesting…and unique,” said senior Shiloh Kail.

Also commenting, was art docent, Haley Simpson. “ This is a part of our heritage and our culture and  it says a lot about the student body every year based on what piece they choose.”

Long time supporter of the tradition, Barbara Nakles, believes it’s incredibly important to keep this tradition alive. As a previous student, it meant very much to her and she “would like all the students to have that privilege.” Actually, more and more students are experiencing this because the practice of student-purchased-student-owned artwork in school is spreading.  “For a long time we called it ‘unique’ because it was the only one in the entire country.” Now, however, there is a school in Texas that has started their own collection. Derry has just recently started an art collection as well. It’s all inspired by the artwork lining the halls of Greater Latrobe Senior High.

With such a special past and promising future, this wonderful tradition is really a privilege for Latrobe high school students to be able to experience. It’s easy to walk past the art on the walls and think nothing of it, but any one piece can give insight into the student body that chose it and what was important to them as a whole. It brings students together and gives them the rare opportunity to leave their mark on the school, that will remain here long after they’re gone.