An elementary school in Maple Ridge spread the message of Pink Shirt Day to the community with an original art mural displayed on their school fence.
About 300 students at Maple Ridge Elementary took part in the project – about the whole school – and each class created a poster to explain what Pink Shirt Day means to the school.
The mural, made up of 10 panels, starts off with the words, “Our hearts are full of…” and then each class chose a word like empathy, kindness or love, and created their own poster.
Madame Alliette Mora, whose Grade 2/3 French immersion students created the beginning panel of the mural, said the project was started at the beginning of February.
Classes created the art in the hallways of the school where Mora and other teachers put out paint. Their mission was to create drawings that would make someone smile.
“That was the whole point. What kind of art would make someone smile,” she said.
“We wanted to make sure the community knew what kindness was and what it meant to us,” explained the Grade 2/3 teacher.
And some classes even decided to use foreign languages to get the message across. One panel of the mural says “Amor” or the word love in Spanish, another panel reads “Freundlichkeit”, or kindness in German.
Marvielle Lapaz, a Grade 4 student at the school, said Pink Shirt Day means that everyone is very kind.
“And there is no bullying,” Grade 3 student Madynn Beaune, pitched in.
Isla Skopliak, Grade 6, explained the students were wearing the pink shirts to make sure everyone is kind and everyone is included.
Grade 5 student Elsa Aguilar noted that sometimes people are not nice.
“And this day reminds them that kindness is good,” she said.
This is the second year the school has created posters for Pink Shirt Day.
Last year, said Mora, it was really nice to see drivers slowing down to take a look or people out walking their dogs checking out the posters and maybe grabbing a bracelet to take home with them.
This year the students also made handmade gift offerings for the community like friendship bracelets with positive messages like ‘Be Happy’, positive affirmation notes and cards – in bags tied to the fence along River Road.
Residents can take something as they are passing by or students can take something on their way home, said Mora.
“Something that reminds them of what it means to be kind. It could be a random act. Something that could brighten your day,” she noted.
“The point of our mural is to spread kindness and show our love to those in our community through various art forms.”
The mural was on display on Wednesday, Feb. 22, for Pink Shirt Day.
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