By: Sarah Yi (Correspondent)
Spreading positivity can impact children at a young age. Not only can it boost morale, but also help with self-esteem.
A group of students from Sharon High School spent February break painting uplifting quotes on the stall doors of a bathroom in East Elementary School.
Ms. Amy Gallagher, a teacher at East Elementary and the project’s advisor, says that the goal of the Bathroom Inspiration Project was to enhance positivity in the school.
“Research shows that students who attend schools that have a positive school culture feel safer, more supported and encouraged,” said Gallagher.
“In a world where it is so easy to bring each other down with negativity, we believed that these positive messages and images would act as a pick-me-up,” added Gallagher.
She decided to take part in this project because they felt strongly that painting inspirational quotes in one place that everyone enters, the bathroom, would help students develop a positive self-image and strengthen their social and emotional well being.
Gallagher says that freshman Simone Dunbar was definitely the leading force behind this project. “This past summer a middle school in Forney, Texas revealed their Bathroom Inspiration Project live on Facebook. Their work was the inspiration for our project. Simone and I had both watched the video over the summer and knew that this was a project we wanted to work on together,” said Gallagher.
Gallagher admits that she has no artistic talent, but Dunbar has a lot. “I told Simone that I would work on getting a grant to fund the project if she could work on the material and design details. Needless to say, Simone had a grand plan within two days. We applied for the grant through the Norfolk Country Teachers’ Association (NCTA) in October and heard that our funding request was granted by late November,” said Gallagher.
Dunbar and seven other high school students, including freshmen Venya Gupta, Chloe Nguyen, Rosie Leonard, Ashley Xu, Jennifer He, Ciara McAuliffe, and senior Izzy Xu took few days out of their February break week to work on this project. Gallagher says she loves to see how students have grown, matured, and developed talents since leaving elementary school.
Participant Chloe Nguyen says that some things are just easier said than done. “I think it’s really nice to have those uplifting constant reminders around, whether it be on a day to day basis just by communicating or on your bathroom stall, which is another option,” Nguyen
“It was between taking part in the project or just being idle, and also I thought it was also just for a really good cause and I would be there will all my friends, so that’s a nice addition,” said Nguyen.
Participant Venya Gupta says she helped Dunbar find quotes and design them so that they would be interesting and colorful to the kids. “I thought it was worth it and I would be happy to see that every day if I were still in elementary school. It would brighten their day,” said Gupta.
She says that they had to make sure that the quotes were understandable for younger kids and legible for them to read. “I feel like we should have done this project at the middle school because middle schoolers are usually self-conscious,” Gupta added.
Participant Rosie Leonard says that the painting of these positive messages in the bathrooms was just a great way to spread positivity through the community of the school and it would help the students be optimistic about themselves and about others. “It will also help lift their spirits if they’re in bad moods during the day or if they are part of a situation throughout the school year,” said Leonard.
“I decided to take part in this project because I wanted to help the community especially knowing that I’m helping students that are younger than me,” Leonard added.
Participant Izzy Xu says that she heard from Mrs. Gallagher that the students weren’t being very nice to each other so the principal thought that it was important that this project was done. “In general, even if that wasn’t the case, with little parts of your day is made more positive, it really contributes to your overall mood and how happy you are,” said
Everyone who contributed to this project agreed that they had to make “kid friendly quotes” with “bright colors and clear designs” so they would we appealing to the eyes as well as capturing a full understanding of their meaning.