Western Hills senior Olivia Onodu is a busy person, and she took it upon herself to complete an art project left unfinished at the school.

For that, she has been selected as the WesBanco Student of the Week.

“Olivia has given up hours of her personal time to enhance our history hallway with her creative skills,” said Lorrie Fraley, a teacher at the school who nominated Onodu. “At the same time she used our first Catch-up Wednesday to participate in the Virtual Club Fair, work on class assignments and continue her beautiful artwork at school while wearing her mask. Olivia is not only a solid student but a wonderful leader from our senior Class of 2021.”

Onodu is the daughter of Godwin and Diana Onodu.

SJ: What inspired you to paint the history hallway?

Onodu: The story begins with my great friend starting the mural for a group project. Her plan of completing the mural was never set in stone. She was never satisfied with her art, so she would restart by painting over all her creations. I felt the urge to help her even though I was not in her class, plus, I had a few ideas of my own. We would paint for an hour after school in the span of about two weeks.

Ms. Fraley, a social studies teacher at Western Hills, noticed that I had won art competitions previously and I was making great additions to the mural. She allowed me to paint a separate mural based on one of my favorite historic topics she taught me last year (not shown in the picture). It was smaller, so I was able to complete it. Later on, my friend moved schools and about two-thirds of the mural was left unfinished. I made it my goal to finish the mural for current and future Wolverines to admire.

SJ: Why is art important to you?

Onodu: There’s always a debate about what is and isn’t art. I think that’s what first drew me to it; I just love to create whatever I please. Art is entertainment, an aesthetic, and shows personal improvement.

On the other hand, I have two older brothers that I look up to. My oldest brother is the true artist in my family. If he would enter an art competition, so would I. He would enforce simple skills like blending pencil marks with a tissue that my former art teachers had shown me. Art is something we bonded over, so you could say that’s another reason why it’s so important to me. Art can truly bring people together. 

SJ: How have you adjusted to virtual learning? What has been the biggest challenge?

There’s no doubt that virtual learning is a very different experience from an in-person classroom setting, but my teachers have made it a smooth transition by being understanding. I have adjusted to virtual learning by having my workspace be my living space. I attend school, do my homework and relax all in the snug space of my bedroom. It’s hard spending most of my time in my room, but it’s worth keeping the people around me safe and healthy.

The biggest challenge is dealing with my WiFi. Some days I go without any lagging in my connection and some days I can’t even open an assignment. Three people are using multiple devices at my house, so our WiFi is spread thin. I always make sure to message someone to catch me up on something I may have missed. 

SJ: What clubs and activities are you involved in at Western Hills?

Onodu: This year I am a member of WHHS girls varsity tennis team, BETA Club, Spanish Club/Spanish Honor Society, Young Democrats, Art Club, Y-Club, ASL (American Sign Language), Science Club and FFA (Future Farmers of America).

SJ: What are your plans after graduation?

Onodu: After high school, I plan to attend the University of Kentucky and major in natural resources and environmental science and minor in Spanish.

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