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One way the Pride Flag Raising Ceremony brought together local businesses and student artists to support our LGTBQ community

The following piece was written and provided by the District's Media and Communications Manager, Rochelle Santos.

One way the Pride Flag Raising Ceremony brought together local businesses and student artists to support our LGTBQ community

As a member of the FPS Staff and Framingham community, I sat on the Planning Committee for Framingham's first Pride Flag Raising Ceremony. In addition to promoting the event to our school communities, I was able to add one feature to the hour-long event. We brainstormed easy, interactive activities for attendees to do before and after the speaking program. I proposed a 'selfie-station' type background for people to take photos in front of.

I wanted something sturdy that could be used again and also wanted to include the schools. I immediately thought of The New England Pallet Guy (whose name is Brian Buckley) because I've seen his work and presence all around the City at events and online, particularly on Facebook.

I emailed him on a Friday afternoon and ironically was standing by his truck as he was packing up at the Earth Day Festival. I mentioned my email and introduced myself. I was only inquiring what it would take to create a solid, free-standing wall that could be painted for our purpose. He quickly and generously offered to build it and to donate it.

I connected with Cynthia Villanueva (GSA Student Advisor) and Caroline DiCicco (FHS Art Club Student Advisor) about the project and both agreed there was interest in the wall and the event. Mrs. DiCicco advised me on paint colors and quantity. I went to purchase the paint at Home Depot in Natick and when I explained what we were doing, they gave me a 50% discount.

The FHS Art Club Student who designed the wall is Kyle Downing and his peers and fellow painters included:

  • Gianna Affanato
  • Sarah Barbosa
  • Eddie Bidianos
  • PJ Farese
  • Sarah Lachus
  • Annais Weiss

Communicating with Brian Buckley and his wife Carey was easy and delightful. They were so accommodating and genuinely happy to be part of the process. They delivered the wall to the High School on Wednesday (May 29th). I arrived with the paint and several of the FHS Art Club students primed the wall. They started with the outlines for the trees and then began to add color.

On Thursday May 30th, the kids finished it up. The end result is a true community project with the wall and paint donation and the high school students creating the rainbow backdrop. Framingham Public Schools Buildings and Grounds Department delivered the completed wall to the Memorial Building Plaza where it will stand as a photo booth wall for tomorrow's event.

On behalf of the Framingham Public Schools, we are proud to partner with the City of Framingham on this inaugural event. We strive to make our schools a welcoming place and will always embrace opportunities to expand that community support beyond our walls. We are also grateful for the support of our community, for our community - thank you to all who brought the wall and this event to life.