Return to Headlines

Chaparral gym gets "shark tank" makeover


Emma Nelson paints murals for school.

Former Chaparral Shark Emma Nelson spent part of her summer creating and bringing to life nine murals in the Chaparral gymnasium.   

Emma attended Chaparral Elementary School and recently graduated from Higley High School. 

Her interest in art began long ago, Emma said. When she was little, she dreamt about drawing, but she says her interest in pursuing art became more serious when she was in the fifth grade at Chaparral.  

“I had dyslexia, so I gravitated toward art because it was something that came more easily for me,” Emma said. 

Chaparral’s leadership team asked Emma to incorporate a lighthouse into one of her paintings as a symbol for the school’s participation in the Leader in Me program. It was Emma’s idea to use the sharks as the focal point of another painting because she was once a Chaparral shark herself.  

Emma works in all medium types and recently created a collection of pencil drawings featuring steam-punk dinosaurs. She is pursuing a fine arts degree at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. While she is still exploring career options, she is considering a future in scientific illustrations.  

Funds from the Chaparral PTO Boosterthon fundraiser paid for materials and the commissioning of the murals.    

Chaparral Elementary School, located in Gilbert, Ariz., is part of the Higley Unified School District.