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Brighton High School Athlete Murals Featured Prominently in Downtown Brighton

Brighton Athletics is going art deco thanks to a new partnership with The Pound! Bar & Grill to promote student athletes on large murals on the outside wall of the sports bar.

Travelers heading west on West Main Street may notice new scenery on the side of The Pound! Bar & Grill in downtown Brighton.

The scenery comes in the form of a rather large mural on the side of The Pound, featuring two Brighton High School Senior Athletes: Hannah Pietila and Forrest Chong.

Brighton Athietics is partnering with The Pound to bring murals of student athletes three times a year to the downtown Brighton landscape. The sports bar's large brick exterior wall will serve as the canvas for six of Brighton's brightest and most talented high school athletes.

"The most important thing that I want people to realize that it's not really as much about the individual kids as it is about our schools and our community," Brighton Athletic Director John Thompson said. "It's about linking the community together - creating that sense of pride and enthusiasm. Both those kids are great kids, but it's not about Hannah Pietila or Forrest Chong, it's about Brighton. They represent Brighton."

As a member of the Brighon Varsity Golf Team, Pietila said it was cool to represent her school and team.

"I think it is cool that it is golf (being represented), because golf is small as it is. I think it's good for our team because nobody really knows we exist."

However, Pietila didn't look at the mural while driving by for the first time on Wednesday afternoon.

"I just drove by it," she said. "I kind of glanced at it, but didn't really look. It's bigger than you think. Next time, I might take a closer look."

Chong said he was happy to represent the Varsity Soccer Team and his teammates.

"It's weird to see myself in public like that, but I'm not embarrassed by it or anything," Chong said.

Pietila and Chong's images will remain up at The Pound for a little less than eight weeks. There will be a short break, then two more athlete murals will go up. Thompson said future athletes have not yet been chosen.

The student athletes are chosen based on both athletic and academic performance as well as leadership qualities, Thompson said.

"That's the hardest thing, I guarantee it," he said about choosing students. "People say, 'well how come my kid is not up there?' It's one of those types of things - honestly, I could probably put 200 kids up that have worked their rear ends off both as athletes and as students."

The murals cost about $950 and were paid for by Brighton Athletics by using non-taxpayer dollars through the athletic department's internal accounts, which are funded by gifts, donations and fundraisers, according to Thompson.

The Pound co-owner Kevin Montagano said they were very excited about the project and hopes it becomes a long standing tradition.

"We are a civic minded business so this type of partnership was a natural fit for us both because of the building, but also because we take great pride in being part of the community," Montagano said.

"The amount of support we get from all of our businesses is unlike most places - people don't realize that," Thompson said. "And that's one of our keys to success. Brighton Athletics is not just the student players and coaches out there, Brighton Athletics is the community. Everybody can be part of Brighton athletics: as a student manager, as a fan in the stands, a statistician, a videographer - that's what separates Brighton. It's one of those things I like to call the Brighton difference. What makes us unique is that there's a role and a place for everybody. It's the strength of the community that is one of our best assets."

badideasaboundinbrighton October 11, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I really disagree with this on a few levels. First of all, it feeds the dysfunction we have in this country in how sports relate to education. (Prioritizing and enshrining athletic success in an academic environment.) Secondly, we shouldn't be singling out any high school students (in this way) for athletic achievment. No high school kid should get mini/local celebrity status like this, regardless of their athletic achievement. I am not suggesting they should not be recognized at all. But the traditional methods (awards ceremonies, letters, etc) are completely sufficient for this. Singling them out like a Pro athlete who actually has a REASON to market him or herself, is bad for the athlete, and bad for their teammates. It's real world in the Pros, because there is REAL money involved. Here, its wrong. Seriously? Are going to tell our kids we worship them now? THEY ARE KIDS.
Nicole Krawcke October 12, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Thank you for your comment. I don't think it was the athletic department's intention to worship these individual students. As Mr. Johnson said, the project was about linking the Brighton community to the school district and it's athletics. Also, these students are not just chosen based on athletic achievement, but also based on academics as well. But I see how singling out students would make you feel that way. Thanks for reading!

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