Q&A with Junior Joe Haas: LHS Mural
You pass this mural every day in the hall, but do you know it’s history? Today we sit down with mural expert and LHS student Joseph Haas (11) to learn more about its significance and place in La Follette history. Hass will soon be creating a documentary about this artwork.
Q: Why is the LHS Mural important?
A: “The La Follette Mural is important because it was dedicated for the 25th Anniversary of LHS back then. It represents LHS in the ‘80s. The mural has a close connection with me, my family and the alumni.”
Q: What do you know about the history of this mural?
A: “The mural was painted in 1988. An artist by the name of Reynaldo Herandez came to LHS and he painted the entire mural, and the LHS art students got to paint a part of the mural as well. Reynaldo coached the students in Mr. Roger Hansen's class on mural techniques and composition. Mr. Hansen was the art teacher at the time and he was the instructor of the project. He told the students where to go and what to paint. And Mr. Hansen was a great art teacher as one student told me, “He used to stand by the door in the F-wing and greet the students as he said good morning.” Both Reynaldo and Mr. Hansen are on the mural near the Lancer. The mural was unveiled to the entire school during an event called “Fine Arts Week” and the choir sang when the mural was unveiled during the evening at LHS. After the mural was unveiled they weren't done with it just yet, because during the summer of 1988 they were putting the finishing touches on it and by the 1988-1989 school year it was freshly painted, brand new and everyone was looking at it. Even my mom and her friends were looking at it and trying to figure out who the people were. Back in the day that kind of art was so unique it was new to everyone.”
Q: What is your favorite detail or reference included within the mural?
A: “My favorite detail on the mural would be Mr. Hansen and Reynaldo Herandez holding the paintbrush on the mural. Another detail would also be Fighting Bob La Follette right next to our very first LHS principal Auggie Vander Meulen. He was a principal from 1963-1974.”
Q: What should students know about your documentary coming out this fall?
A: “Well, they should know that I will be talking about the mural in 1988 and why it was painted at the school. Then, I will talk about the mural in 1989, and my mom has two great photos with the mural in 1989 that I will show in the documentary. I will also be talking about the other historic things at LHS as well, including the Wall Of Honor, the School Sculpture, and when LHS won the 1977 & 1982 State Championships for basketball. And I will be doing a tribute to my Uncle Mike who died on January 27th, 2021 and I will play a song for him that is called “Angel Among Us” By Alabama for my Uncle Mike. Lastly, I will be ending off the documentary with the Bon Jovi Song “Living On A Prayer”. I am doing this documentary for the alumni, my Uncle Mike, my family and the mural. And to add one more thing, I wouldn't be doing all this if it weren’t for my mom because she got me into the mural and she was in the class of 1990 at LHS. Love You Mom!”