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7's HERO: Mountain Home High School senior paints American flag mural for the gym

Hunter Delsite, who graduated on Friday, says it was an honor to leave a powerful and lasting legacy at his high school.

MOUNTAIN HOME, Idaho β€” A beautiful American flag mural painted by a graduating senior is getting a lot of attention at Mountain Home High School.

18-year-old Hunter Delsite grew up in a proud Air Force family. Both his mom and dad served, so this project has extra special meaning to him.

"I'm from a military family, I've been all over, moved here about four years ago," Delsite said.

Delsite had a wonderful high school career at Mountain Home High School, a big part of which was art.

"It started a long time ago back when I was starting elementary school, but it didn't really develop until I came here, and I started having Ms. Raub as my art teacher," he said. "That's when I started taking art a lot more seriously. She's always told me that I could do a lot more with my art, and she's always pushing me."

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Delsite's teacher Brenda Raub said Hunter is a big talent with natural ability and a great work ethic when it comes to learning his craft. 

"I've been lucky enough to have had Hunter for four years," Raub said. "When he first started he was always impressing me from the get-go. He always turned in amazing work."

During the fall semester, Raub and Delsite discovered the high school needed something special.

"The school needed a flag for in the gym," Delsite said. 

Every classroom at Mountain Home High School has a flag. The gym, which also serves as the cafeteria, is the only section of the school without one. Raub knew Delsite was the perfect person to put on this project. 

He immediately went to work, coming up with ideas for a large-scale mural for the wall. 

"I started drawing it out and it took a while to get it done," Delsite said. "Then it was figuring out how big to do it."

Hunter decided on 8x16 feet, which was a huge undertaking for a young artist. 

"He has never painted this large before, so it was very exciting," Raub said. 

Delsitepent the entire spring semester working on the mural. 

"We ended up finding a place where I could paint it behind the bleachers," he said. 

He thought a lot about the meaning of the flag as he painted.

"The flag to me really means coming together, that union of all of us, Americans are really from everywhere," Delsite said. "The freedom, the freedom of just America in general, being able to speak your mind." 

When the painting was finally finished, Raub was very proud. 

"When you have a kid that you see for four years and teach, and they just keep doing amazing things, there's just not much you can ask for," she said.

Raub posted photos of it on Facebook for the whole community to see. People were blown away. 

"People in this town, well everywhere but especially in this town, a military town, they love the flag," Raub said. "So as soon as they saw that on my Facebook post, all of a sudden people started commenting and liking and sharing, and it's so exciting to see that." 

Delsite was shocked by the reaction. He couldn't believe it. 

"I mean, everybody loves it. I didn't go into it expecting it to get that many comments, I just thought I would put it on the wall and people would say the pledge to it," he said. "There has been a lot a lot of love for it." 

Delsite graduated on Friday night with the class of 2021. He's off on a new adventure at the University of Idaho. But, the beautiful flag mural will stay right there in Mountain Home.

"It's really, really awesome to get to say that I left something that big here at the school, you know? Not a lot of students get to do something like that," Delsite said. "It makes me really happy." 

The mural will be mounted on the wall of the gym this summer. Delsite's parents have now retired from the Air Force and are staying in Mountain Home. He plans to come home from college often and will visit that mural for years to come.

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