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High school students celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall

Posted at 4:10 PM, Nov 10, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-10 18:11:23-05

HELENA — On the 34th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, German Club students from Capital and Helena High Schools gathered at the Holter Museum of Art to commemorate the historic day.

The nine students have been painting an eight-by-eight plywood and drywall mural since October 22 and destroyed it on Thursday.

This year is Bizz Browning’s first in the district, and she works at both schools teaching German. She was inspired to have a Berlin Wall party from her years in high school.

“We had a Berlin party back in the day. There’s something really nice about building something together and talking about what it meant to us. But then having lived in Germany and then actually seeing the wall, I thought that project could be so much more,” Browning said.

She was influenced by the art of Germany’s East Side Gallery, which is the last remaining stretch of the wall, running one mile long. It is believed to be the longest open-air gallery in the world.

When deciding what to paint, Browning asked her students one simple question.

“'What do you think divides us?' because obviously the Berlin Wall was a symbol of division. Dividing cultures, dividing perspectives. So, the students with the puzzle piece idea, they wanted to pick things that were a little bit closer to home about what they feel divides them” she said.

For Helena High junior Mark Dudley, being from different schools was a splitting factor.

Dudley said, “I’ve always had my rivalries with Capital, but I think doing this and getting to know them better was bringing us closer together.”

German club students

After reading President Ronald Reagan's speech that was a catalyst for the l of the wall, students took hammers to their mural.

“It sucks that we worked really hard on it and now we have to tear it down, but I feel like it shows a more important aspect than it just being an art piece in a museum,” said Dudley

The Berlin Wall party was such a hit with the kids, that they plan to make it an annual project.