WESTFORD -- One of the walls in the toddler room inside the Early Learning Center at Nashoba Valley Technical High School was sorely in need of artwork, a large, unadorned space crying out for a drawing or painting that would grab the eye of children in that fidgety age group.
As it happens, Rebecca Metcalf of Shirley, a student at Nashoba Tech, at the same time was coming to the realization that she's a pretty good artist. So Rebecca decided she would put her newfound skills to use by drawing a mural for the wall.
About eight months -- and a dozen Disney characters -- later, the results were an unqualified success.
"It really brightens up the toddler room," Early Childhood instructor Colleen Hogan-Mazzola said. "The kids love it, and the parents are attracted to it right away. It makes it look like an actual toddler room."
Rebecca, a senior in the Culinary Arts program at Nashoba Tech, got the idea for the mural while in art class with instructor Robin Monaco, who encouraged her to pursue the mural.
Even Monaco was impressed with the final result.
"It's awesome!" she said.
"I really just started painting in art class and realized I was pretty good at it," Rebecca said. "So I thought, 'I should do a mural for them.' And I figured Disney is very kid-oriented so that might be a good basis for the mural."
She first drew the characters, had them enlarged, then incorporated theminto the mural, which includes Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck, Dumbo, Bambi, Thumper, Simba, Jiminy Cricket, Pluto, Winnie the Pooh and Roo.
Rebecca confessed that while she is a beginner at the whole art thing, her father, Bud Metcalf, is an artist and may have had some influence on the mural's lettering, which she admits is not her strong point.
And while she plans to continue in the culinary field after graduation, she hopes to become a baker and, in particular, a cake decorator, so her artistic skills will certainly be good to use in that field.
The Early Learning Center at Nashoba Tech is staffed by staff and students from the school's Early Childhood program. It accepts children from Westford, Chelmsford and surrounding communities. For more information, call 978-692-6036.