New Mural is First Step in Honoring South Athletics


Eli Shimanski

The new mural located in the northeastern hall by the gym depicts a litany of South athletes including Kendra Roedel, Isabel Strebe and Tayler Hill who is currently a member of the WNBA.

While walking down the halls recently you might have noticed a new addition to the walls on the northeastern hall leading from the girls locker room to the main door. A photographic mural showing the history South women’s athletes throughout the history of South was put up over winter break. The new decor adds color and intrigue to the previously static wall.

The mural was the passion project of Brett McNeal, a new athletic director who has had his eye on an assignment like this since he first started. “My idea was always been to highlight youth,” he said, “trying to find way to increase participation and specifically to recognize and honor our women in sports and their history”

McNeal described the process of choosing the photos that would be put on the board. ‘“Since I’m not a former South High graduate it was just, what were the coolest, funniest pictures that I could do or find to highlight and as many different sports that the youth participated in” he said, “then I wanted to try and highlight athletes that have, either had a great career here at the high school level and/or college level and then later on at the professional level.”

The ones that were chosen came from a litany of different sources. “These are photos that we have taken either during the sports season” McNeal explained “pictures from yearbooks from many years back and word of mouth asking former students and parents if they have any pictures of their children doing active sports event”

Another member of administration who is excited about the project is principal Ray Aponte who was enthusiastic about the message being sent about equality in sports the mural represented.  “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Brett now for a couple years and him and I resinate the fact that you know that equality in sports is important” he said “equality doesn’t mean equal… some people think equaty means you get 50% and I get 50% and that equal but when you look at the historical facts around sports and equity you know, sometimes you have to have like you know, an eye towards trying to even things up a little bit”

One of the current South students who is memorialized is Isabel Strebe who has a photo of her running cross country included in the mural. She explained why she thought that it was important to specially acknowledge female athletes “females do some really awesome things too and so it can be like empowering” she said “I think that just showing that like, students at South of all genders to participate in sports and just having a visual reminder of that.”

Strebe also diverged how it felt to be commemorated in this way. “it was kind of cool because that was, running cross country was a big part of high school for me.” she said, joking adding, “It was a little embarrassing, not a great picture of me, pretty sweaty.”

In addition to the work that he’s already done, McNeal also plans to add another mural  dedicated to men’s sports. “This is kind of like phase one for us,” said McNeal “I wanna raise additional money for the other side of the wall so I’ll have even more pictures the cover the other space.”

Beyond that McNeal has plans to display more pieces of South history around the building in the future.“I want to have the trophy cases lined up on the further wall and that’d look back at all of our historical trophies so that our student athletes can understand the rich history of athletics” he said ”make that the athletic wing of the academic building.”