NewsDepth A+: Art in the bathroom?!

Two seventh grade students at Genoa Middle School in Westerville are using the power of paint and creativity to inspire their fellow students to think positively and believe in themselves. Their hard work earns this week’s NewsDepth A+ Award.

Middle school can be a tough adjustment. Making that transition easier inspired Sydney to put brightly colored pictures and messages of encouragement on the walls of a 6th grade girls’ bathroom. Sydney took the idea to art teacher, Juls Rathje, and the school’s principal for approval and then went to work.

Mrs. Rathje paired up Sydney with fellow-seventh grader Lennon. The two sketched out designs on the wall and filled them in with bright colors—lots of rainbows and flowers.

Sydney says she got the idea for one of the wall quotes from a book her mom had. It reads: “Your future is created by what you do today, not tomorrow.”

“I wanted to do the sixth-grade bathroom, because the fifth graders coming in to sixth grade are probably really nervous about coming into a new school, said Sydney. “I thought that once they came into the bathroom they would feel more confident.”

Another quote on the wall reads, “You are awesome.” It’s a simple sentence that conveys so much.

“It is a compliment that needs to heard and spread around,” said Lennon.

Lennon says she likes to watch a student’s expression change from gloomy to happy after seeing the artwork on the bathroom walls.

The work at Genoa Middle School is getting a lot of attention on social media and within the Westerville City Schools. The district’s other middle school students want to paint their walls. And the boys attending Genoa Middle School already have plans to paint the boys’ bathroom.

“It’s really neat to see. I feel like it’s created this movement of wanting to include art in different places,” said Mrs. Rathje. “I feel like art can change the world.”

Submit your ideas for our NewsDepth A+ segment to newsdepth@ideastream.org for consideration.

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