Sammy Celio, a co-captain of the New Milford High School cheerleaders, had one immediate reaction Tuesday when she saw the two new photo murals in the south end hallway: "It looks so cool!"

Sammy, 17, was not alone in her praise of two, five by 16-foot murals, comprised of 50 photos, that were installed Saturday at the school.

"They're beautiful and awesome," said senior Shelby Roberts, 18. "They caught a great moment that is still in my memory from a volleyball game."

Sammy and Shelby are among the many students featured among the large photos of Green Wave sports events.

The murals are part of a three-phase project at the high school, developed by a Spirit Committee, co-chaired by teacher Stephen Flanagan and secretary to the principal Pat Silverman.

"We'd seen an article about large murals that vendor Visual Impact (of Danbury) had created for Bethel High School and Naugatuck Community College," Ms. Silverman said. "We were trying to visually spotlight student work and activities in the building, foster more student ownership in the building. So we contacted Visual Impact about murals for our school."

With Board of Education approval, funds from last year's student activity budget were used to pay for the project. The committee worked with Visual Impact for eight months, developing and refining designs.

Phase one was the two murals of "Athletic Life."

Phase two will be two murals of "School and Community Life," to be installed in the front foyer by the end of February.

Phase three will be one large mural of "Student Life" for the cafeteria, to be installed in April.

"We're trying to liven up the school," Mr. Flanagan said, "and reflect all the great things the kids do. We want to give the kids a sense of ownership of the school and let them know we value what they do."

Many of the photos used in the athletic murals were taken by Mr. Flanagan, Green Wave swim coach Jim Carmellini and Spectrum editor Norm Cummings.