A Michigan elementary school has replaced Mother Teresa and Albert Einstein with Oprah Winfrey and President Barack Obama for their “Heroes Hall” mural, and it did not sit well with some parents in the community.
For more than 11 years, South Arbor Charter Academy has fostered an academic environment that inspires its students to achieve greatness with the help of “Heroes Hall,” a mural that features inspiring historical figures such as Mother Teresa, Betsy Ross, the Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts, etc.
In an effort to connect the bridge between the heroes of yesterday and the heroes of today, the charter school decided to revamp the mural with some new faces. These faces included President Obama, J.K. Rowling, Oprah, Maya Angelou, Walt Disney and Steve Jobs.
“This is no longer a hall of heroes,” concerned parent Craig Bergman told Fox News. “Now we have a hall of celebrities.”
Jennifer Hoff, the school’s spokesperson, explained the thought process behind the new mural.
“[Heroes Hall] is a tangible way for students to see that, despite circumstances in life, you can achieve great things through hard work, dedication, and the moral focus virtues,” Hoff told Fox News.
Hoff listed those moral focus virtues as “wisdom, respect, gratitude, self-control, perseverance, courage, encouragement, compassion and integrity.” She believes the new heroes embody those principles. Bergman disagrees.
“They may be some of the most influential people in American history, but they are not heroes,” Bergman told Fox News. “The mere fact that you have talent doesn’t mean you are a hero. I want someone who made a life investment – perhaps they even sacrificed their life – so that our society and so our world could be a better place.”
Bergman went as far as to allege that the mural has become a “political issue.”
“There’s definitely a certain genre of pictures here,” he continued.
The list of new heroes were selected by a panel handpicked by the principal. Hoff stands by the committee's decision.
“Our goal is to encourage students to believe in themselves, work hard and be brave enough to dream,” she said.