The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

September 27, 2013

School unveils colorful reminder for students

DANVILLE — North Ridge Middle School art teachers Julie Skinner and Ruthie Hannan talked for years about creating a lasting piece of artwork for their school.

The opportunity to enhance the building finally presented itself when it was being renovated in 2012.

“The construction in our building got us thinking about what we could do,” Skinner said. “We never had done a mosaic before, but it was something we wanted to try.”

On Thursday night, the framed 3-foot by 5-foot vertical mosaic mural was unveiled on the cafetorium stage during an open house at the school. The mosaic eventually will be mounted on a wall in the school’s atrium.

Within the colorful mosaic, Skinner used Scrabble tiles to spell out words that could be viewed as positive reinforcements for the students.

She explained the school’s teachers selected the words that appear inside the “E” of the word “Just Be,” which is the focal point of the mosaic. The words include: appreciative, kind, nice, awesome, trustworthy, warm, helpful, real, ready, giving, leader, loyal, proactive and polite.

“The teachers picked out the words as a friendly reminder to students to always be positive,” Skinner said. “It’s tied to our social/emotional curriculum and anti-bullying.”

Hannan, who is now the school’s sixth-grade science and social studies teacher, was working a second job at Lowe’s when she found out about Lowe’s Toolbox for Education grant, which is available to K-12 public schools in the United States for a wide range of improvement projects.

The grant program, which is funded by Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, donates $5 million to public schools and parent-teacher groups at more than 1,000 different public schools per school year. Grants up to $5,000 per school are available, but large schools and school districts also are eligible to receive Toolbox grants up to $100,000.

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