Op-Ed: Hundreds of Volunteers Help Beautify Alpha Public Schools in East San Jose

It was a successful community turnout for our three schools in the Alpha Public Schools network. We partnered with a local organization, Beautiful Day, to tackle campus renovation projects. Among those in attendance were Alpha students, staff, Beautiful Day volunteers and members of the East San Jose community.

A lot were accomplished in two days. Some of the renovation projects included creating a mural at Alpha: Bianca Alvarado Middle School. The mural showcases Panchito the Owl ready to take flight while embodying all five of Alpha’s core values: joy, relationships, integrity, leadership and excellence. The artist behind the mural is Kim Bartel, an art teacher at Leigh High School. She even brought along several of her students to help.

The mural at Alpha: Blanca Alvarado Middle School.

The mural done at Alpha: Jose Hernandez Middle School showcases Pepe the Penguin going into space as a homage to astronaut, Jose Hernandez, who was assigned to the crew of Space Shuttle mission STS-128 which launched in 2009.

The mural at Alpha: Jose Hernandez Middle School.

The third mural at Alpha: Cindy Avitia High School showcases Javier the Jaguar. The mural artist, Alpha’s very own art teacher Rebecca Recco, said students provided the inspiration for the design and placement.

“This mural is located in what’s known as the students’ table area,” Recco said. “This is where students hangout, perform, share news, eat, rest or just seek solitude on a tough day. This was the inspiration behind creating a mural of a jaguar in its habitat, peering out at visitors. I included the monarch butterfly as a tribute to Cindy Avitia, and two smaller monarchs moving toward the classrooms to represent those who will carry her message into the future.”

Art teacher Rebecca Recco painted the jaguar mural at Alpha: Cindy Avitia High School.

Volunteers at the middle schools also had a hand at helping repaint the blacktop lines.

Mr. Min invited his homeroom class to join in on the fun. They got their hands dirty laying down mulch, painting murals, and much more.

Others helped renovate a teacher workroom by adding tables and chairs. The workroom nursery now features a newly painted wall with the saying, “My star in the sky.”

Two students, in particular, got creative and turned an old worn out sign into a piece of functional art. They came up with the concept of creating a chalkboard for public service announcements while adding their own artistic flair. What a great way to get the word out about important news!

And of course, a beautification project wouldn’t be complete without work in the garden.

Over 700 volunteers helped. Alpha Public Schools would like to thank all of the volunteers and Beautiful Day staff who took part. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Emma Karpowicz is the assistant principal at Alpha: Cindy Avitia High School, where she oversees systems around student culture as well as works with the math department to improve teacher development. Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Want to submit an op-ed? Email pitches to [email protected].


  1. What, no decapitated Trump murals? East Side, your letting SoCal get ahead.

    I think this effort proves one thing though, we don’t need to vote for any more school bonds.

    • So Latinos basically pretty up their schools and you bring something completely irrelevant and judgmental about the demographic in question? The fact that that is the first thing you think about after (potentially) reading this article about kids making schools more aesthetically pleasing reveals much about your nature. But hey, in this country people are free to be petty and sour for literally no reason whatsoever so you do you buddy. Keep crappin on those kids, how dare they paint their schools! Damn communists…

      • Oh how delicious the hypocrisy.

        First, it is the left that continually politicizes children to further its agenda, and clearly you have been fooled, this is not about the kids it’s about the teachers and their world view. One manner among many are these murals at the public schools, so my comment is relevant.

        Case in point, at MAAC Charter School in San Diego County a Ms Sasha Andrade Mercado painted a mural showcasing an Aztec warrior carrying the beheaded face of the President of the United States of America after its been impaled by a spear in its left hand, as well as carrying the President’s heart in the right hand. Until the news picked it up, it was all backslaps and good jobs, the only reason they covered it up was because, “White Supremacists”.

        Even the murals in this article are political statements. Jaguars and butterflies were not picked randomly from the set of animals. They have significance in pre-Columbian civilizations, most notably Aztec culture, which never exists anywhere near the bay area. Having a symbol of transformation and elite warrior hiding in the shadows, lying in wait clearly is a clear symbolic message to the kids there. This mural is political art. What is interesting is this was driven by the art teachers, but “inspired” by the students.

        That’s just two I know of, some digging will produce more such political murals, I am sure.

        Then there were the protests in 2017 after Trump got elected, which hundreds of schools, including many Elementary Schools, staged walkouts and street protests, having elementary school kids wave placards like “My name is Amanda, and my life matters.” Those walk outs were a ridiculously cynical abuse of children.

        It goes on and on, Teachers Unions use children as ransom, gun control advocates use school shootings to push uninformed laws, and the left uses children to further their desire to limit free speech with the free speech does not equal hate speech lie.

        Lay on top of that, the use of children in the gender identity wars with earlier use of hormone therapy and puberty blockers.

        “Jack recently underwent a medical procedure to have a tiny device implanted in his left arm that pumps medications through the body to stop the effects of puberty,” said Rosenthal, who has treated Jack and hundreds of other transgender children. “What you are doing is you’re basically putting their puberty on hold. You’re not promoting the development of either male or female physical characteristics at that point.”

        One would think it is obvious that doing this is a bad idea.

        “Chemical castration is what you’re doing when you put any biologically normal child on puberty blockers,” said Cretella, the president of the American College of Pediatricians. “It’s treating puberty like a disease, arresting a normal process which is critical to normal development.”

        But the collective benefit to moving the culture is worth the childhood of some kids, right?

        When are you going to back off the children, huh?

        Stop with the politics, let these kids be kids.

  2. > Want to submit an op-ed? Email pitches to [email protected].

    Holy moly!

    What if a Republican responds!


    There are not enough safe spaces in the Bay Area for all of the snowflakes that would be offended.

    This is your worst idea yet, Jennifer.

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