Courtney Poole and Casey Marie Floyd, two volunteers on the beautification committee at Resurrection Catholic Elementary School, decided that the bathrooms at the school needed some extra love and beautification, so after viewing ideas on Pinterest, they were inspired and pitched their idea to Principal Frederic who happily agreed. And then the fun began.
Asked why they wanted to beautify the bathrooms, Poole said, “The students deserve it. We really wanted the space to bring a sense of comfort to the students and encourage them to love others and themselves.”
The two women, who have always crafted with their children, had never taken on a project like this, but they were inspired by ideas from Pinterest and from their own imagination. Not only did they paint pictures, but they also wrote inspirational sayings and quotes.
One quote has personal significance for Poole – “One kind word can change someone’s entire day.” She explains that, as a student, she once received a note from a classmate who said he’d had the worst morning, that everything had gone wrong from oversleeping to missing the bus and not having breakfast, all of which put him in a bad mood. But when he walked into class and saw Poole smile and say “good morning” everything changed.
Poole truly believes in that quote because of that experience.
“One smile or word can change someone’s day. School can be hard for everyone. Everyone has bad days. Some students go to the bathroom to secretly hide those feelings and I hope that if a student is having a bad day and walks into the bathroom, everything will change,” she said.
They also paid special attention to the supply closet used by Karen Lawrence, the school janitor.
“She spends a lot of time taking care of these areas and was one of our biggest supporters throughout the process. She told us her favorite quote: ‘I can do all things through Him who strengthens me,’ and the next day we surprised her with that quote on the supply door,” Floyd said.
Prior to beginning the project, Poole and Floyd discussed the quotes and decorations they wanted to use. They even got suggestions from students. They had a special request for a shark in the boy’s bathroom and in the fourth to sixth-grade hall they had a suggestion for a #loveyourself theme.
“And they get what they want because that’s the reason we are doing this,” Poole said.
To make the artwork, the women used a CricutExplore, which is an electronic cutting machine that looks sort of like a printer. But instead of printing the designs on paper, it uses a very precise blade and a series of rollers to cut out anything you want. Poole cut out the quotes and images on the Cricut and applied them while Floyd painted everything else.
The reaction to the artwork has been overwhelming.
“This has been the most rewarding part. We were hearing all the happy little voices as we were working and it filled out hearts with so much joy,” Poole said. “Listening to all the sweet comments as we progressed made us realize just how important this was to the students. They loved every little thing we did. They were saying, ‘I love my school,’ and ‘We are going to have a lot of people wanting to come to our school now.’”
Floyd echoed that sentiment: “They all had certain quotes they loved – which was the stall they wanted to use.”
In addition to thanking the school, students and parents on this project, Poole and Floyd also give special thanks to Express Employment Professionals of Biloxi for providing a donation to make this project happen. The donation was used to buy paint, vinyl, and mirrors above the sinks.
What do Poole and Floyd hope the students get out of this?
“I hope when the students read the quotes they believe them and apply them. I hope it brings them happiness and confidence and encourages them to say kind words to a friend,” Poole said.