CHARLOTTESVILLE — Whenever Charlottesville firefighters answer an emergency call, they’ll rush to the scene in style, thanks to the efforts of a few Eastern Hancock art students.

The department publicly revealed a new design adorning the side of the engine of its firetruck at Eastern Hancock High School Friday. Three Eastern Hancock art students, Karlie Gaylord, Chloe Holzhausen and Whitney Wilkinson, crafted and submitted the illustration after the fire department contacted the school for design ideas, said Amanda Graupner, Eastern Hancock High School’s art teacher.

The students’ design pictures a steel-eyed lion ripping through the truck’s metal with crossed fire axes covering a tattered American flag in the background. The lion wears a red hat labeled “Charlottesville 461,” and the words, “Beast of the East,” are scrawled underneath the design.

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The fire department has received a number of positive comments from citizens on the new graphic decorating the truck, said firefighter Tom Jenkins.

They’re pleased to give their vehicle a personal touch, which lets them carry part of the school with them on the road, Jenkins said.

Graupner had her advanced art students submit a design for the fire engine. A digital artist then took their favorite submissions and created the final illustration.

Chloe Holzhausen has been involved in studying visual arts since middle school, she said.

Seeing the Charlottesville fire department zoom around the town sporting their creation will be a cool sight, and the whole project has been good experience in her pursuit for a career in graphic design, Holzhausen said.

This was an outstanding chance for the students to apply the skills they learned in the classroom and put them to use in a practical way, Graupner said. It’s not common for high school art students to come across such a perfect opportunity to adapt their creativity to real life, she said.

“I just love that they like to get the kids involved in the community as well,” Graupner said. “Having them see their work on something that’s going to be driven around and used is pretty amazing.”

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Evan Myers is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at 317-477-3228 or