Home Local News Painting Positivity: Rockingham Middle School Aims to Inspire in the Unlikeliest of...

Painting Positivity: Rockingham Middle School Aims to Inspire in the Unlikeliest of Places

Rockingham Middle School's visual arts teacher Ashley Lupfer reminds students they are "be-you-tiful" by painting a mural in a student bathroom.
Photo courtesy of Rockingham Middle School.

ROCKINGHAM – Rockingham Middle School is up to some great things early this school year, and its latest project includes painting up the desire to better the school’s morale and inspire its students.

In a faculty meeting on Tuesday, October 17, Dr. Theresa Gardner, principal of Rockingham Middle, presented an idea to her staff that the school’s academic coach, Sandy Lane, came to her with.

“Traditionally bathrooms in schools are a place where negativity is spread,” Gardner explained. “As a gift to the students, it was decided that the staff could come together and paint positivity on the walls in the bathrooms as a team.”

Gardner had already mentioned this idea to the visual arts teacher, Ashley Lupfer, who thought the idea would help boost student behavior and attitude. By Friday morning, Lupfer had sketched out 12 positive sayings, two for each student bathroom in the school.

As Friday was a half day for students due to Richmond County School’s homecoming parade, it was a full day for faculty and staff. Over 20 faculty members and a half a dozen students stayed after school to paint positivity for the students to come back to on Monday morning.

Seventh grade teachers Jordyn Pillar (yellow) and Kristen Sides (green) paint one of the 12 new “positivity” murals in the bathrooms at Rockingham Middle School.

“It was like sociable art, but on the wall,” Gardner said. “And everyone had a different part of the picture. Some of the staff members filled in the drawings, while others waited to complete the outline.


The end result of the project is a surprise to the Rocket student body, and Lupfer got the project started by sketching the murals on the wall, ready to be filled in with paint.

“We wanted to do something different to motivate our students,” Lupfer said. “The students were asking questions all week as they saw the sketches popping up on the walls. I couldn’t be more anxious to see their reactions Monday morning.”

 “It was absolutely amazing to watch, and yet nothing was planned,” Gardner added. “Mrs. Lupfer just ran with an idea, and now it is amazing!”

It’s no secret that middle school is often a time where students are beginning to find themselves individually, and it’s RMS’ plan that a little positivity can go a long way. The murals were completed on the cusp of “Red Ribbon Week,” a national anti-drug campaign to make students aware of the harmful effects of drugs.

“We’re hoping for this project to have a really big impact on our students,” Lupfer concluded.

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