The painted bricks tell stories of generations past on the walls of FHC


The imprints of former students will always be a part of the walls of FHC. 

The moment anyone walks into English and Theatre teacher Robbin DeMeester’s room and their attention will quickly be on the back brick wall. The whole wall is covered in decorated bricks. Each one is different and unique, adorned with the signed names of DeMeesters past theater students. 

“In order to earn a brick painting in my room for years to come,” said DeMeester, “you have to be in a show—any show as an actor. You have to do, at the minimum, a year of every show on [the] crew [like being on] the tech side.”

With having more than 100 signed bricks, all of the past students that have participated in a play or a musical have the option to display that they were a part of the show with their signed name. The students have the option to make it colorful, bright, and to make it stick out. 

Some of the oldest of these colorful bricks in DeMeester’s room are dated back to about 15 years ago. 

“I was in a room or something subbing for somebody years ago,” DeMeester said. “I just thought it would be a really cool idea.” 

These bricks aren’t just for decoration; they also have a major significance of always being a part of the school. For DeMeester, it’s a daily reminder of all those kids on the wall—it’s very special for her and the theater department. 

“I think it’s a big deal,” DeMeester said, “and they’re very intentional about where they choose their brick.” 

The students get the choice to put the brick wherever they want, either it being front and center, decorated bright and fancy, or in the back where it’s hidden from all. And as the custom has grown popular, more teachers are getting involved. American Sign Language (ASL) teacher Kimberly Anderson is new to the brick painting idea, but the popularity of bricks and her students’ requests convinced her to allow it, too.

“My students came back one year and asked if they could have a brick,” Anderson said. “I had them for four years, and we are trying to talk about ways of like how to show each other we appreciated them”

To be able to get a brick in Anderson’s class, the students must be taking the ASL language for four years at FHC. After they complete the course, they’ll get the chance to paint whatever they want on them.

The students so far have chosen to write whatever is meaningful to them on the bricks or involve their best memories for taking that class. There are a few bricks with the colleges that the students will go to in the following years in colorful paint that brightens up the room.

“When I look back, I think it’s important for me to realize why I do what I do because I love my level fours,” Anderson said. “I think for my students to see that only a few select numbers get that far, it’s a pretty big reward.”

It’s not just for the students; it’s also for Anderson to look back at all the memories she has had with her students and think about the good times. She claims that the students love doing the bricks, and she herself enjoys the ability to reminisce. 

AP Biology teacher Patricia Richardson also has her students express their creativity with bricks. 

Richardson first started the bricks when she moved into her new classroom in 2012. In her room, she has around 50 bricks in total and a few ceiling tiles.

“There was a teacher who taught AP Biology with me—Andy Rundnquist—[and] he had been teaching for a long time,” Richardson said. “[He let them] paint bricks, [and all his] of his walls were covered with different student bricks. So, when I started teaching AP biology, I wanted to do that also”

Her AP Biology students look forward to painting their own bricks at the end of the year, but, last year, it was cut short due to COVID-19. Despite the challenges this year, she hopes to continue the bricks in the following years and give students the opportunity because she recognizes the memories they hold. 

“I think it’s exciting and interesting for the kids that are in the classroom to be able to look at [the bricks],” Richardson said. 

These bricks hold the memories of the students in these classrooms. Each brick has the name of a student and other designs of their choice. The FHC students who graduate use the bricks to leave their mark on the school. They are, for graduates, a reminder of all the hard work they have accomplished in high school.

“It leaves a legacy for students if they come [back when] they’re 25 years old,” said DeMeester. “They will come back to my room and find their brick and show whoever they brought; it’s something really special.”