Former teacher paints mascot |

Former teacher paints mascot

by Sharlene Irete

The counselor at Scarselli Elementary School wanted a big change in her small office, so Mary Stoll obliged her by painting a mural of an African landscape complete with examples of the school’s mascot, the cheetah.

“Dawn wanted a design she’d feel comfortable with,” said Stoll about counselor Dawn Hare. “She liked the ideas of cheetahs so I had to get some photos from the Internet.”

“I showed different ages of cats like the different ages of students,” said Stoll about the family group of a cub and two adult cheetahs.

Stoll, a former teacher at Scarselli, painted the mural as a favor to Hare and as something she would like to do as a career.

Stoll was a full-time teacher for more than 14 years.

“It’s a huge change for me,” she said about taking up painting as a career.

“I quit full-time to pursue a change in career and life,” said Stoll. “I won’t stop teaching. I’ll always be a teacher.

“Using the creative part of my mind with art and writing is important and working with kids is an awesome challenge.”

Stoll gets support from her husband Ken Stoll who is the principal at Minden Elementary School. She said there are financial concerns but he’s in favor of her decision.

“We’re testing the waters of a 20-year marriage,” Mary Stoll said.

Stoll works as an office assistant for Rite of Passage but hopes to work more at painting wall murals in homes and offices.

“I would still love to work for Rite of Passage, but I want to open as many doors as possible,” she said. “It’s a huge jump to do something I love.”