It would be a lie to say I love it, but there is a part of me that will miss San Dieguito’s “tunnel” when it’s gone in a just a few days.
The demolition of two buildings and construction of a new two story science and math building in the center of our campus ushered in my first year as principal at San Dieguito with the crash of a wrecking ball and rumble of heavy machinery. Bulldozers and cranes have been a part of my school ever since it became my school, and with a tight squeeze along a major north/south walkway, construction prompted a creative solution to student safety: building a massive wooden wall with a ceiling to separate students from construction.
It is, I realized, one of the few things about San Dieguito that is entirely mine. There was no “tunnel” (as it came to be called) before I was principal, and the wall will be gone before another principal arrives on campus. In its way, the tunnel captures some of the spirit of my time as principal at San Dieguito.
I arrived to construction and its attendant challenges, and found that the school, the students and adults who make up the San Dieguito family, are greater than any adversity, particularly that prompted by shovels and jackhammers.
The existence of the tunnel was a necessity; the students’ response was unexpected and beautiful. Seeing wood, they brought out paint.
They started with pictures: a horse, a peace sign, hearts, and even the Death Star.
Soon an art teacher and her painting class brought some cohesion, adding wheels, windows, and the concept of a train. More images appeared: fruit, animals, and a painting of a mountain that looked like it could be framed and put in a gallery.
This was a creative solution to an immovable challenge, functional first, but soon a place for students celebrate their diverse artistic voices.
Was everything perfect? No. Life isn’t, but on this imperfect, evolving, and unpredictable canvas our school got to see the kaleidoscopic spirit of our student body.
The tunnel filled with color, originality, and whimsy.
Images grew, vibrant, beautifully silly, and sometimes profound.
They are, by the nature of the tunnel, transitory, “very SDA,” and (soon) gone.