There is an art display throughout the halls at Discovery Canyon Campus called “Keep Swimming." In the wake of tragedy it’s helping unify the student body, and will possibly set a Guinness World Record at the same time.
Discovery Canyon High School Principal Jim Bailey said he has many names for the display.
“I call it the Koi fish installation," Bailey said. "It's a demonstration of resilience and unity on the campus. It's all about us being together, and it's all about our differences and our likenesses.”
This project is something that nearly the entire student body, kindergarten through 12th grade, is behind. Nearly every student on campus has made a paper Koi fish for the display. Sophomore Kelly Lundberg says some students have made several.
“Even the friends who thought they were too cool or didn't like the idea embraced it and they made a fish," Lundberg said. "Now they look back and people are all looking for their fish... the little ones and the big ones, the super creative ones. There were some art kids that went all out."
Even some parents made fish and come to campus during volunteer time to hang the Koi fish in the halls.
"This is awesome because it unifies the entire campus," DCC parent Bonnie Burckel said. "It's a very unique K-12 campus and I have always loved that philosophy. We don't try to separate out the levels. We bring them together, and this is a visual representation of that."
The idea began when Middle School 3D Art Teacher Shell Acker was surfing Pinterest -- from there, the project took off.
“We want to show the kids that we are here, we are together, we are collaborating, we are one big school of fish. I know that sounds kind of hokey, but we are in this together. Logistically this is a big deal to get all of this to happen," Acker said.
Tiffany Hawk, the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program Coordinator, helped come up with funds for supplies to make the project come together.
"There are a lot of supplies to get something like this up and running, and didn't see a problem with it at all," Hawk said.
Now, what began as art project is a symbol of many things to many people, including hope.
"When I see the fish in the hallways and I walk through each hallway in the school, it reminds me what a great campus we are and how unified we are," Principal Bailey said. "The whole idea of a K-12 public school campus with 2,500 kids -- you would think it would be so easy to get lost, but really our togetherness and our numbers are a strength. When I see all these fish around, each one is different and each one is unique, just like our kids."
"It's such a simple act. It's just paper fish lining a hallway but there is so much depth to it. Koi travel upstream together and we are all in this together, we are all traveling forward, none of us are going backwards," Lundberg said.
At last check, Mrs. Acker tells me the Koi fish count breaks down like this -- 839 in the DCC elementary school, 1,915 in the middle school halls, and 1,827 in the high school for a total of 4,581.
The Guinness world record for number of paper crafted animals is 4,420. The record for distance of a paper chain is 2,502 feet and the Koi fish display is well over 4,000 feet. They are still looking for a surveyor to make it all official.