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beach mural

Ortley beach mural near complete May 26

May 24, 2023– The district’s relationship with Ortley Beach is growing stronger by the summer.

Last year, the Township had approached students within High School South’s Project SPEAR-IT CTE program with a proposal about lifeguard stands. With funding from the Township for materials, students responded by building nine sturdy lifeguard stands which, since last summer, line the Ortley Beach coast.

This year, the question was what to do about a highly-visible storage container which has become something of an eyesore. For this, High School East has responded, with students and staff working collaboratively with the Department of Public Works to beautify that container located on Third Avenue.

HSE art teacher Katie Koenigstein is spearheading the effort to create a “Keep the Beach Clean” theme for a storage container mural. Along with her school colleagues Bill Dishon, Erin Calicchio, Kristen DeVuyst, and Jennifer Fazzini, Koenigstein and 20 HSE students are utilizing their art skills, passion, and sense of community to make a difference.

The storage container is now a piece of art, with a beautiful mural that depicts a beach with the tagline, “Leave Nothing but Footprints…Keep Ortley Beach Clean.” The project not only supports community partnerships; it aligns with the district's sustainability policy.

“Few things leave us as satisfied as seeing our students using their creativity, talents, and imagination to make a difference in the community,” said Assistant Superintendent Patrick Thomas, who visited the site this week to check on students’ progress. “They’ve turned an eyesore into a beach landmark, and I couldn’t be more proud.”