Home Features B.I.O.N.I.C. creates long-lasting TALK tree painting

B.I.O.N.I.C. creates long-lasting TALK tree painting

Editor’s Note: Delaney Holman, who was interviewed for this story, is an editor on staff, but was not involved in the writing, reporting, or editing of this story.

This school year, B.I.O.N.I.C. (Believe It Or Not I Care), introduced its long-term finger-print tree to permanently display the fingerprints of TALK (Teenagers Activating the Language of Kindness) invitees and leaders.

Up-close of 3 students painting the rope of the tire swing, the sky, and tree branches
Credit: Trinity Heard, 42FIfty

Ms. Wendy Monn, club supervisor, and other B.I.O.N.I.C. leaders have been running TALK for 15 years and wanted to find a more efficient and permanent way to display the TALK tree, which is a long-running tradition for the program.

For those who don’t know, TALK is a school-day-long bonding experience where invited students learn more about each other and learn how to be kind to one another. Each year, a small, painted tree is made for participants and leaders to leave their fingerprints on. 

“The idea of the tree is just like the TALK program is: everybody comes in as individuals as separate and you leave together as one.”

Wendy Monn

This year, the students were able to make a long-term tree that will last decades and host hundreds of students’ fingerprints on it.

“We can bring it to every single TALK program and just keep growing it,” Monn says. 

The tree and the fingerprints along it further symbolize the purpose of coming together as one. 

“The tree alone without the fingerprints stands for how people feel alone and kind of isolated when they’re by themselves and when they don’t have others around them,” senior Abby Medernach says.

The fingerprints remind students that they are not alone and can count on those around them.

“After you’re there , you relationships…and you are leaving an imprint on them just like you leave imprint of your finger on the tree,” Monn says.

Each TALK, which is held at least twice per year, student invitees will add fingerprints to the tree, and board members will organize and note who each fingerprint belongs to, and the year it was placed. Each TALK event will be represented by a different color; BIONIC board members will be represented by butterflies in the same color as the attendees’ fingerprints. 

The B.I.O.N.I.C. club decided to make this tree during the COVID-19 pandemic and gathered materials during the 2020-2021 school year. Senior Delaney Holman, a B.I.O.N.I.C. board member and the main artist of the tree, began her project around a year ago.

“I had all the materials since the beginning of last year…and my dad built the canvas and everything in the garage. We had to build all of it,” Holman says. 

The actual painting process started closer to the beginning of TALK in September 2021. 

Delaney Holman is the main artist of the tree, but she was assisted by seniors Cassidy Shugarman, Medernach, Alex Garcia, Maggie Lerge, and many more board members.

Many painters stayed until 8 p.m. on Nov. 16 to have the tree ready in time.

“All the little details and stuff we really did last-minute,” Shugarman says, but that didn’t stop them from having the tree ready for TALK the following morning.

The year-long process was a long journey, but the painters feel the best part was seeing the finished result.

“Seeing all the hard work come together and then especially after the day with the fingerprints and all the color on it made it 10 times better,” Shugarman says.

“Honestly, I think it came out as good as I could hope it to be; I thought it was going to be worse than it ended up,” Holman says. 

With B.I.O.N.I.C. members and TALK participants graduating every year, the tree will hold the names of those who have left a mark on the school and those who are just starting to make an impact. 

B.I.O.N.I.C. is still deciding on a final home for the TALK tree that ensures the integrity of the piece. 

“Currently, is going to be displayed right now in my room [12] until somehow we can figure out if we can have it mounted to a wall,” Monn says. “We don’t want people to ruin it, touch it, or draw on it.”  

The student-made B.I.O.N.I.C. tree is hoped to last for numerous years on display for all OHS students to remember the bonds created each year during TALK.

“Every year, as the tree may lose its leaves, it’ll the following year with new programs and new people to continue it.”

Wendy Monn

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