About two dozen students and colleagues of Prudence Hockley turned out in the cold and rain at the on Monday to paint a mural on the graffiti wall as a tribute to the slain Woodinville High School teacher.
The Jan. 2 event was organized by Anna Berlin, a former student who created the memorial Facebook page for Hockley (you can read it here). The teacher died on Christmas Day from severe head injuries she received in an attack at her Seattle home on Dec. 24 (a suspect in her death is in custody awaiting arraignment. ).
Rae Grainger, a graphic artist and Woodinville High School alumna, created the design, which features a kiwi bird modeled on Hockley’s own doodle, Mount McKinley (she loved Alaska) and a stylized flower in the Maori tattoo tradition.
Grainger said Monday she never had Hockley as a teacher but knew her casually from school. “I had classes across the hall, so I knew her from being near her class,” said Grainger.
Hockley, who liked to wear brightly colored clothes, was known for her spirited personality and love of life.
Grainger got the idea for the mural from reading all the comments on the memorial Facebook page that Berlin created. There were many posts that talked about Hockley inspiring students to explore their own creativity. “I thought about the skate park and just came up with the idea from there,” she said. “But I didn’t want this to be my tribute; I wanted it to be from everyone.”
The mural was designed so anyone who showed up on Monday could grab a brush and contribute. At least half of the people, mostly teenagers, who arrived at the park shortly after 1:30 p.m. took part in the creation, despite the rain. City Councilman Scott Hageman was on hand to lend support, and a small group of Woodinville firefighters came to lay flowers at the memorial.
The graffiti wall, officially called the Artists Wall, is a large wall that anyone can paint on. Usually the artwork is graffiti. Grainger said it doesn’t matter if the mural stays or is painted over in a day: “It’s everyone coming out here and creating it together, that’s the point."
The mural still wasn’t completed as darkness was falling Monday; Grainger said she’ll be back Tuesday to complete the work.
The Facebook page quickly became the place for everyone affected by Hockley’s death to come together and write about her life and see how she touched others’ lives. Hockley’s 24-year-old daughter, Willa Hockley-Smith, posted on the page late last week.
“You guys are all so amazing, reading how much my mom touched your lives has been therapy to me, I know her memory will forever carry on through her students, family, and friends. I am still in shock that this happened, and appreciate all the support for me, my brother Sam, and my little sister... My family and I will keep you posted to let you know when her memorial will be. The mural is beautiful I am excited to visit it, what a great idea and it’s so perfect with the kiwi and everything. Thank you all!!”