Picture a Garden climb at Howbert

       When Howbert Elemen-tary students embark on their Track Day Thursday, April 26, one of the activities will be climbing the Garden of the Gods' Kissing Camels rock formation. Enjoying the new, muralized climbing wall at Howbert
Elementary are (from left, in front) Kayleigh Wilson, PE
coach Jason Miner, Hayley Messinger, Emma Joines, Kaya Bacon and Aleah Mick, and (from top of ladder) Alicia Mick, Megan McCarrie, Daisy Erickson and artist Deborah Mick.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Well, not quite.
       But a recent mural by Howbert parent Deborah Mick on the south wall of the school gym - along with hand-holds installed by PE teacher Jason Miner - sure make it look that way.
       Working off-hours with donated paint, Mick drew and colored the scene, 50 feet wide by 16 feet high, between mid-January and the end of March. “It was really just a labor of love,” said the volunteer artist, who has done recent professional work for Mr. Biggs Family Fun Center and the New Life Church. “I think the people at Howbert do a wonderful job. I was just happy to do it.”
       For Miner, the product culminates his effort to give Howbert what's known as a “bouldering wall.” This is a wall where the students don't climb much over 6 feet above the mat, but are taught to use hand- and footholds as they move sideways. He managed to get financial help from District 11 and from Howbert, along with some holds from Wasson High School, he said.
       Miner is also pleased with the mural theme, considering that the Garden of the Gods is just up the street from the school. “A lot of schools have walls with Garden of the Gods murals, but we're the only one that should,” he laughed.
       Mick can thank her children, Aleah and Alicia (in kindergarten and fourth grade, respectively), for her Howbert painting opportunity. “My daughters volunteered me,” she said.
       She admitted to being “a little intimidated” at first. “Like I told the coach [Miner], a lot of people see the Kissing Camels in different ways, so I hope everyone is happy with what I did,” Mick said.
       She painted about 40 hours in all - not counting time spent studying photos or gazing at the wall and thinking about how it should look.
       In some ways, she said, she would have liked to keep working at it, but she also knew the kids were looking forward to trying out the bouldering wall. And, on Track Day April 26, she said, “we'll get to see it in action.”

Westside Pioneer article