Addison Elementary motivates students with artwork


A motivational mural by Amber Williams of Artsy Amber Designs in Cullman is displayed in the boys’ restroom at Addison Elementary School. (Hayden Hyatt for The Tribune)

ADDISON – Students at Addison Elementary are greeted with an encouraging sight when visiting the restrooms this school year, murals painted by Amber Williams of Artsy Amber Designs in Cullman.

The hand-painted murals are displayed in both the boys’ and girls’ restrooms at the school with messages like “Be yourself” and “Be kind, be brave, be you.”

Jeff Scott, principal of Addison Elementary, said the murals were the culmination of an idea by the local Parent Teacher Organization's president.

“Our PTO president, Mandy Lake, she just wanted to come up with a way to inspire each student and make them realize that they're all important,” said Scott. “Hopefully, if some of them are having a bad day, maybe it will lift them up and help them to realize just how important they are, not only to us, but to other people around.”

Students at Addison Elementary have taken a liking to the murals, according to Scott.

“We have people wanting to hang out in the bathrooms a little bit longer, but that's okay,” joked Scott. “They really like it, they all noticed it. Once one of them looked at it and saw it, then everybody else wanted to run down and had to take a peek at it. So they really enjoy it.”

When the idea for the mural was brought to Scott he immediately saw the benefit it could bring to the students.

“Mandy is always brainstorming, you know, trying to think of ways to make things better for our students and does a terrific job with the PTO,” said Scott. “She was the one that made the connection, suggested it and wanted to know if I was in agreement with it. I said of course. Anything that might help motivate students and make them feel better about themselves. That's what we're all about.”

Scott said the murals fit in with his personal philosophy.

“I truly believe 90 percent of anything in life is believing you can,” Scott explained. “That's what we want them to do.”

The murals impress an important message for the students, said Scott.

“Even though we're all different, we're all still important,” Scott said. “That's our focus, to make them understand that it's okay to be different- just realize you're still important.

The message of the murals also fits in well with the school’s motto, according to Scott.

“I coached ball for 22 years and that's something I always challenged our kids with,” said Scott. “Our motto was we believe every day, if you work hard, act right and show respect, at the end you're going to be a winner. I always pushed that to my teams as a coach and I quote it every day for people here. Just to try to give the kids something that they can remember.”

Scott emphasized that it's a group effort to get the students to achieve success.

“We really appreciate Mandy and what all she does with our PTO and all the parents that support (us),” Scott said. “It takes a village to raise a child. We need parents as well as PTO and everyone helping us in order to get these students where we want them to be.”

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