Buzz Aldrin Middle School students created two murals for the newly renovated Montclair Ambulance Unit headquarters on Walnut Street. 

The unit celebrates its 70th anniversary this year.

In the fall, the unit staff reached out to Buzz Aldrin Principal Major Jennings, asking if the school’s mural painting classes, led by teacher Lauren Kaiser, could design and create murals for the headquarters, according to a press release from the school district. 

Kaiser met with Chief James Mazza, who showed her around the headquarters to decide on the best spaces for the two murals – one for each mural painting class.

“We chose the arched spaces above the big glass doors in their lobby because they would be most visible to the public,” Kaiser said in the release. “I showed the students photos of the spaces, and we then did a Zoom meeting with Chief Mazza and Deputy Chief Michael Craig so that they could introduce themselves and talk to the students about what the unit does on a day-to-day basis.”

The students were also given a virtual walking tour of the headquarters.

“The students had many terrific questions for them, and Chief Mazza and the staff were so excited that our Buzz students were going to take this on,” Kaiser said in the release.

The classes had brainstorming sessions, came up with individual ideas and voted as a class on their favorites, the release says.

One mural’s theme is “Montclair Loves Our EMS” and depicts a view of Edgemont Park. The piece was designed by eighth grader Vivian James, the release says. The second mural is an emoji-themed design, with an emoji chosen by each student. 

“The students had a great time working on this project,” Kaiser said.

She installed the murals before the grand reopening of the headquarters at the Walnut Street Fair on May 7.

“It was a great turnout and the EMS was so proud to show off their new murals!” Kaiser said in the release.

Talia (she/her) is the education reporter for Montclair Local and is always looking for ways to view stories through a solutions journalism lens. She has spent time in newsrooms of all sizes and scopes....