Signs of the times: Walls now house inspirational quotes

Perched on the top rung of a ladder and composing a 12-foot high piece of artwork freehand had Cerro Gordo High School graduate Haley Witts wondering what she had gotten herself into when the artist agreed to paint a quote on a wall in the elementary school foyer.

“I forgot how large that wall was. I was a little nervous but it turned out well,” said Witts, a 2015 CGHS grad who is an accountant by trade but keeps her artistic bent going with her Witt’s End Boutique Etsy shop.

The colorful painting – featuring a quote from Bryan Skavnak – ties directly into the elementary school theme that ends with the plea for students to “be the nice kid this year.”

Piecaes of wall work featuring positive reinforcement are becoming more common in local schools. Monticello Middle School used student input to decide on several for it’s masonry walls, and they are getting passing grades from both middle school attendees and educational staff.

“I think the students think it looks cool and they also feel good they had a part in choosing what was put on the walls,” said MMS Assistant Principal Denise Troester. Jake Romano from Herff Jones put the black vinyl lettering up, and Troester said it also helped to “get some things up on the bare walls.”

One of the largest quotes at MMS is a six-line, 12-foot high one that says in part, that “in this school, we do second chances, we forgive, we respect each other, we keep promises,” and ends with “we belong...we are family.”

Another saying that lines a hallway states, “every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them.”

And if you look up, there are even four inspirational quotes on the school atrium – the central area where each classroom wing meets.

Students were invited to submit quotes, and came through with a list of more than 20, some of which may be added later. They include sayings from Archimedes to Will Rogers, A.A. Milne of Winnie the Pooh fame to prominent poet Maya Angelou.

Bement schools are also using visual aids to encourage students. At the elementary school, there is a large bulletin board that outlines “Paws-itive” behavior.

“Students were divided into four houses, and they can earn points for their houses throughout the week,” said Superintendent and Elementary School Principal Sheila Greenwood, noting students can see progress on the bulletin board.

The district is also using the acronym T.E.A.M. as it’s theme this year, which stands for Together Everyone Achieves More.

Cerro Gordo Elementary School Secretary Stacey Wildman got the ball rolling on the entryway artwork at that school, finding the quote that ties into the district’s theme to promote kindness. She also booked Witts to climb that ladder and get it on the wall.

“I think it’s an important message for the students because it encourages them to embrace their individual strengths,” said Witts. “It also promotes inclusiveness and reminds the students to ‘be the nice kid’ every day when they walk into the building.”

Cerro Gordo Elementary School Principal Jodi Neaveill summed up the positive reinforcement effort simply.

“The world needs more nice people,” she said.

PCJR correspondent Christy Jankowski also contributed to this story.


Categories (3):News, Education, Living


Comments for this post are inactive.

Event Calendar

Today's Events  |  FAQ
Log in to add an event