On the first day of school, Perry Hall High School's cafeteria filled with the sound of gunshots and a scene that left one student severely injured and another arrested.
On Thursday morning, less than five months since the student shooting, a Baltimore artist hopes to replace those memories with images of love.
Michael Owen of the Baltimore Love Project plans to lead students and staff in the creation of a mural that spells "LOVE" on the cafeteria wall. About 450 students and staff, who normally participate in the first scheduled lunch, during which the shooting occurred, will contribute painted handprints to the mural. Shooting victim Daniel Borowy, who returned to class in November, will add his handprint inside of the "O" in "LOVE," according to an announcement from project chairperson Mary Kavanagh.
Sixteen similar murals already promote compassion in Baltimore neighborhoods, including the properties of four high schools.
The event, planned between 7:45 a.m. and 10:15 a.m., will also include love-themed music, food and prize drawings. County and state elected officials are expected to present a plaque commemorating the event at 9:30 a.m.
About 2,500 commemorative T-shirts have been donated to all students and staff at the school. They are expected to wear them on the day of the event, which will be captured in a professionally edited video, according to the announcement.
Assistant Principal Stephen Arnold said the school is anxiously awaiting the mural's creation, which he hopes will bring a greater measure of closure to students and staff.
Several local businesses and organizations have sponsored the event.
Rosedale Federal Savings & Loan Association made a $5,000 check presentation toward the event last week. The Avenue at White Marsh and Open Range Video were also among the top donors.
The full list of more than a dozen major event sponsors is attached to this article as a PDF.