ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. — The joys of accomplishment turned into disappointment after vandals destroyed a colorful mural created by students at Rolling Meadows High School.

“I felt so bad for all the people who worked on it and spent time on it,” said student Heather Stembel, who, along with the Rolling Meadows community, was devastated after vandals defiled their 92-foot-long mural.

“Just really feel for those kids who worked so hard on that mural,” added Rolling Meadows Park District executive director Kevin Romejko.

Art teacher Martha Nava was among the first to see the damage on Sept. 23. The educator reported the ugly incident to Rolling Meadows police and sought her students.

“People work so hard on these murals and people just decided to deface it for no particular reason,” said sophomore Jade Lang.

Teachers, park district directors and community volunteers all rallied around the 40-plus kids who worked on this Kirchoff Road viaduct project by picking up a paintbrush and undoing the damage.

“After the initial shock and heartbreak, I kind of decided what was most important in this situation was to empower the students to take it back,” Nava said.

It shows remarkable resilience and a lesson to everyone involved about overcoming disappointment.

“We’re defiant and we are Rolling Meadows strong,” one woman added.