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Students honored for leading Gateway Arch state status

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Students honored for leading Gateway Arch state status

Colton Gabel and Layton Massey receive plaques from State Rep. Dale Wright for spearheading the passing of a bill making the Gateway Arch in St. Louis the official state monument for Missouri.

Lincoln Intermediate students Colton Gabel and Layton Massey recently received plaques from State Rep. Dale Wright, R-Farmington, for their efforts in helping the Gateway Arch in St. Louis become Missouri's official state monument.

The plaques includes the date Senate Bill 72 was passed, a photo of the students testifying at the hearing, and the pen that Gov. Mike Parson used to sign the bill.

The story began in December 2019, when Aaron Horrell and Barb Bailey of the Painted Wren Art Gallery in Cape Girardeau dropped by Lincoln Intermediate School to have students paint sections of a Missouri Bicentennial Mural to be displayed in Jefferson City.

The section of the mural completed in Farmington consisted of the Gateway Arch and the Missouri State Capitol.

While they were in town, Horrell and Bailey suggested that Washington-Franklin art instructor Janis Chatman attempt to have the Gateway Arch designated the official state monument.

"We had over 600 students paint on the mural," Chatman said. "That's how this came about. That's why they brought that panel specifically for the Farmington R-7 kids to paint on. They asked if we could do anything to get the arch designated as the state monument.

Students honored for leading Gateway Arch state status

See caption with other photo

"I had contacted Rep. Dale Wright last spring and he explained to wait until December when bills are pre-filed. I contacted him again in December and by the next day it was a go. Within a couple of weeks they had a number for the bill and they had a hearing — and it was on its way. After many efforts by Rep. Wright and others, the bill passed just prior to the session ending in May."

Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-756-8927 or


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