The 2023 graduating class of Castaic High School left their mark on Thursday as the first graduating class when they threw their graduation caps in the air.
Samantha Zaidman, a member of the class, went one step further and put their mark into a physical form – ceramic tiles representing each student placed on a wall at the school.
The project served as Zaidman’s Gold Award project, the highest honor a Girl Scout can earn.
Zaidman was walking the halls of Castaic in her freshman year when she noticed how barren they were. The idea suddenly came to her.
“Art makes people happy,” said Zaidman. “I wanted to do something that popped out.”
Her original idea was to have a mural painted for the school, but, as the COVID-19 pandemic did what the COVID-19 pandemic did, her plan was disrupted.
Her plan then shifted into a tile wall.
“I wanted to incorporate the personalities of the students who started it all,” said Zaidman.
With the tile wall, each member of the 2023 Castaic graduating class got a tile with their name and an image representing their time at the school (such as a soccer ball, basketball, music note, etc.) For those who did not respond to Zaidman’s inquiry, they received a paw print symbolizing their mascot the Coyote.
Each tile was decorated by members of Castaic’s art classes who worked for two weeks, up to four hours each day, both during and after school.
The tile wall is also accompanied by a timeline at the bottom representing monumental moments for the school and the ability for future classes to take part in what Zaidman started.
On May 26, Zaidman was finally able to unveil her project in front of Mike Kuhlman, superintendent of the William S. Hart Union High School District, and many community members.
“I think it was really a moment of just like, ‘Wow, this actually happened,’” said Zaidman.