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Bobcat seniors paint the parking lot

Bogue Chitto senior Ja’Taryah Ferguson plans to roll onto campus when school starts next month and slide her Chevy Cruz into her very own personalized space.

It doesn’t bother her a lick that she’ll be parking on her face.

“I’m painting a portrait of her from her school picture in her drapes,” said her uncle Corey Sims, an artist who is helping her create the unique space.

Bogue Chitto seniors and volunteers they roped into helping lug paint and supplies met with a few local artists Thursday to begin the creative process of painting the parking lot.

This is the second year for the tradition.

“This is not a terribly unique thing. There are other schools that do paint their parking lot, just not around here,” said Principal Scott Merrell. “I don’t think very many of them, from what I’m seeing, get quite as intricate as ours are getting, especially in this region.”

It all started last year when a student approached Merrell and asked to paint a spot. Merrell’s biggest caveat is no profanity. The design must be appropriate and pre-approved. So far, he has had no issues with that requirement at all. The seniors who choose to participate are also expected to present a work of art, not just spray-painting their name or anything that shows no effort was put into their space, he said.

Seniors get to choose their parking spot — first come, first serve — that will be their designated space for the rest of the year. The students create the design and supply their own exterior latex paint, which runs anywhere from $20 to $100. Students lay down the primer and top coat to get the spaces ready for paint.

“I think it lets us be able to express ourselves and do something that just represents us,” senior Mary Lynn Dunn said. “We like being different than everybody else, because most schools do chalk and such, but that goes away and this is memories that last all year.”

Artist Stephanie Holmes helped out with the project last year as well.

“It becomes something that you want to foster in the community,” she said Thursday. “You see the talent emerging and get to see the artistic side of their brain get stimulated. I hope this is something that stays around and they continue for years on down the road.”

This occasion is a way for the students to network and engage with their fellow classmates. The seniors discuss their ideas amongst each other, getting their peers’ opinions and even sharing paint and brushes with each other.

Holmes described it as their “one legal chance for graffiti on school ground.”

“As a principal, there’s something in me that says that I’m supposed to not like this somehow or another, but I don’t. I love this,” Merrell said. “I love to see them all coming out, helping each other, offering encouragement or joking around. It’s just a great thing.”

Story by Lacie Tarver