Students at Wylie High School aren’t using the same old boring bathrooms anymore thanks to the Student2Student program.
“They needed some help,” student Elise Grimland said of the bathrooms. “They were green and then they were painted black.”
S2S is a program designed to provide support for students who are new to the school. Members of the group greet new students, show them around, eat lunch with them and make them feel welcome. S2S is an initiative of the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC).
Students in the program also participate in MCEC leadership training and do service projects, which is why the Wylie students came up with the idea of making its bathrooms more appealing.
“We came up with designs to paint on the doors,” Elise said. “We wanted them to be positive and encouraging. I feel like everyone needs some positive encouragement.”
The group came up to the school on several Saturdays and used paint pens to paint their designs and encouraging statements on the bathroom stalls. They also put stickers on the walls. They paid for the project with a $500 grant.
Hillary Haywood said she believes the positive messages in the bathroom are important.
“The bathroom is a place that people go when they are down,” she said. “Now they can look around say, ‘maybe it’s not so bad.’”
She said the students’ hard work not only made the bathrooms look better, but it provided some time for the S2S students to get to know each other better.
The S2S program also hosts an annual Veteran’s Day Breakfast, and this year the group hosted a Purple Up Day in April, the month of the military child. They also have done other projects, such as posting signs that made it easier to navigate the school.
Alaina Johnson, a junior, is a military child, so she knows how valuable the S2S program can be. She said an S2S member helped her when she moved to Abilene, and now Alaina wants to do the same thing for other new students.
“She showed me all my classes,” Alaina said. “I didn’t know where to go. It’s the first day of school. I was nervous. Just having someone come up to me and help me out, that’s what got me to join this program.”
By Candy Reagan