An elementary school in Indiana combined creativity and literature to create a beautiful piece of art that will encourage students for years to come to be true to themselves. Students grades K-5 at Sharon Elementary school in Newburgh, IN painted rocks inspired by the book Only One You, by Linda Kranz to create a colorful stone lined path outside the school entrance.
The project was the brainchild of art teacher Jessica Moyes. While the installment is just now complete, she’s been working on it for some time. “It was funded by a grant from a local foundation that funds unique projects in our school district,” she tells Scary Mommy. “I applied for this grant and received it earlier in the year.”
Only One You is an inspirational children’s book about Adri, a little fish who is about to go explore the ocean on his own. His mother and father tell him some of the important lessons they’ve learned throughout their lives in hopes that it will help him on his journey. They remind him, “Always be on the lookout for a new friend,” and “Find your own way. You don’t have to follow the crowd.” The book stresses how everyone is unique, and that each of us have something to contribute to the world. “There’s only one you in this great big world. Make it a better place.”
Moyes shared pictures of her students painting the rocks and the final result of the project on the school’s art class Facebook page, where they’ve been shared over 18,000 times and counting. Parents and fellow teachers are amazed with the project, with many saying they want to petition their own local schools to follow Sharon elementary’s lead.
Moyes read the book to all of her students. Then each student painted their own unique rock inspired by the fish in the book using indoor/outdoor glossy acrylic craft paint. Moyes says she has approximately 740 students, enough to make a gorgeous path of brightly colored rocks outside the school’s main doors.
Kids grow so much in elementary school, not just physically, but in who they are as people. It’s the beginning of meaningful friendships and when kids start to navigate complex social situations on their own. Not only are these stones a colorful addition to a school, they can serve as a daily reminder to students that no matter what, they’re special and that they have the power to change the world. This art project uses simple materials, but its message is a hugely powerful one.