Painting for Pride – The Sopris Sun

As you walk past the Carbondale Recreation Center, you’ll notice a colorful addition to the sidewalk, a Pride flag provided by Carbondale-based and senior Basalt High School (BHS) Hannah Miller.
It’s part of Miller’s Capstone Project, a high school graduation requirement for students in the Roaring Fork School District. The district website states, “A capstone is a culminating academic and intellectual experience that encourages students to think critically, solve challenging problems, and have skills such as communication, public speaking, research, media, teamwork, planning To develop self-sufficiency. or goal setting; helps prepare students for college, modern careers, and adult life; and develops character and life skills. “
The idea for a Pride project came in part because Miller joined BHS’s Gay-Straight Alliance, starting in her first year and then last year as a junior, as co-president with classmate Abigail Coulter.
Miller’s father, who works as facility maintenance manager for Carbondale’s parks and recreation division, “was a tremendous help” in putting her in touch with the recreation center staff.
Miller reached out to Jessi Rochel, community center and leisure program manager, with a description of her painting project, including a Pride Rainbow theme.
Rochel then took the idea to her boss, Parks and Recreation Director Eric Brendlinger, and Carbondale City Administrator Jay Harrington. When city approval was granted, Miller received permission to paint a Pride flag on the sidewalk of the covered patio area outside the recreation center.
“The flag design I choose includes Gay Pride and, on the triangle side, Trans[gender]”Black and brown live too,” Miller said.
Rochel said this was her first involvement with a Capstone project student. “It was great to be there. I’m really glad we got the city’s support and assistance so that I could give them permission to complete their Capstone project with us. “
For Rochel, working with Hannah on this Capstone project was very exciting for us and for me personally, as we, as the Rec Center and Rec department in the city of Carbondale, want to build this inclusive community in which everyone feels safe and secure . When she approached me because she wanted to paint rainbows or what is now a Pride flag, it was easy for me to say yes because that’s our goal – we want everyone to feel welcome when they walk through our doors come. “
Plans for more Pride artwork in the valley are underway. Miller contacted Basalt Regional Library staff to help create something for the library’s youth room. “When I was in middle school, I went to the library almost every day after school, and people who don’t have a safe place to go to at home might be there even if it’s just after school.” , Miller recalled.
Miller hopes the Pride flag will “raise awareness among people across the valley so they can feel safe, supported and welcome”.

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