Spring Branch ISD Featured News

Hope and healing on wheels: Art Car created to honor the memory of student’s beloved sister  


It’s that time of year again when spectators from near and far prepare to gather in Houston to watch whimsically adorned vehicles cruise the streets of downtown as part of the Houston Art Car Parade. Now in its 37th year, the Art Car Parade has emerged as a “must-see” event in the Bayou City.

Among the cars in this year’s parade is the “Rumble Bee,” an entry designed by Maddie McClung, a Spring Forest Middle School student in Spring Branch Independent School District (SBISD.)

Back in November, Maddie and her fellow art students had the opportunity to enter an Art Car design contest. Students and parents from across SBISD voted on their favorite, and Maddie’s came out on top, receiving 685 votes and winning by a 1% margin.

But the ‘Rumble Bee,’ a 1970s Volkswagen Bug, is more than a brightly decorated car. It’s a heartfelt tribute to Maddie’s sister, who passed away four years ago.

“It was important to me to dedicate the Art Car design to my sister because her legacy deserves to be remembered. I keep her with me through the many things I do,” said Maddie.

To honor her sister’s memory, Maddie and her classmates decorated the Volkswagen Bug with colorful caps, coins, brooches, flowers, and other trinkets to make the “Rumble Bee” attract the attention of parade-goers.

“I’m most proud of how the ‘Rumble Bee’ stands out. My sister was never able to speak, but I think she would have liked the car's colorfulness,” said Maddie. “And, of course, she would love the bee design because they were her favorite.”



Maddie says watching the project come to life has been surreal, and she knows without a doubt that she is making her sister proud.

The SBISD community will get a sneak peek of the “Rumble Bee” as well as parade entries from the Stratford High School Band, Wilchester Elementary, and one decorated by Spring Forest Middle School art teacher Rebecca Mustachio during the SBISD Art Car Shimmy on Friday, April 12. Art Car Parade artists will also showcase their vehicles during the Shimmy, bringing artists from various backgrounds and experiences together.

“The Art Car Shimmy is about so much more than art. It’s the intersection of where art, engineering, and whimsy meet to create something amazing for the community to enjoy,” said Mustachio.

As Maddie and her classmates prepare to unveil “Rumble Bee” as part of the Art Car festivities, they see it as much more than a car but a symbol of resilience, love, and community spirit.

“Knowing that so many people are putting their time and effort into a project that is meaningful to me is amazing,” said Maddie. I’m so grateful for every person, no matter how big or small their contribution.”