“I wanted to do a mural here, to do something that inspired \ and that connected them to the community,” Vargas said. Vargas and Avena have created several murals throughout the southwest – in New Mexico, Texas, California and even parts of Mexico, they said. “This started off as a great idea to add color to our walls and beautify the school,” Alvidrez said, adding that the school’s approximately 1,000 students raised $5,000 to fund the project. Eighth-grader and Student Body President Richard Rios, 14, said the new mural brings a sense of pride to students. But it also does a lot for his school, he added. “I’m happy that the school did something to make it look better. The wall is not as plain as it looked before,” said Rios. “I hope students will look at it and be proud.” [email protected] (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3024160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Along the artwork’s border, for example, Pico stares out over a landscape dotted with cattle and orange groves. Computers, spaceships and a series of culturally diverse faces line the mural’s opposite end, hinting at a future of modernization and education. And at its central focal point, the mural shows images of students graduating in caps and gowns. “Graduation is the ultimate goal,” Vargas explained. Rivera Middle School and city officials joined students Wednesday at an unveiling ceremony for the artwork, which was created by Vargas, 28, his longtime friend Jorge Avena, and Rivera Middle Principal Andrew Alvidrez. • Photo Gallery: Past, Present and FuturePICO RIVERA – Rivera Middle School history teacher Elias Vargas stood beneath a towering image of Pio Pico, California’s last governor under Mexican rule, and explained the theme of the school’s newest mural. “We wanted to show the past, present and future of Pico Rivera – where it’s been, where it is, and where it’s going,” Vargas said Wednesday. The mural, titled “Presencia de Pico Rivera,” or “Presence of Pico Rivera,” was completed last month. It colorfully portrays the transformation of Pico Rivera, once a predominantly ranching community.