Pretty in paint

Kingston Middle School incoming eighth-graders LeahMae Bundang (center) and Sarah Miller (front) earn Honors Society community volunteer hours while polishing up their school Wednesday afternoon.  - Tara Lemm/Staff Photo
Kingston Middle School incoming eighth-graders LeahMae Bundang (center) and Sarah Miller (front) earn Honors Society community volunteer hours while polishing up their school Wednesday afternoon.
— image credit: Tara Lemm/Staff Photo

Volunteers touch-up Kingston Middle School.

KINGSTON — Kingston Middle School is getting a paint lift.

Lorie Flanders, a KMS mom, and approximately eight other KMS parents spent many hours staring at the school’s walls during their stint as WASL testing hall monitors.

They noticed something was missing: color.

“It’s just a drab environment,” Flanders said. “We wanted something more upbeat for the kids.”

And that something is painting the entry way, Physical Education and sixth-grade hallways with a coat of light blue color that matches the floor tiles.

The gang of parents approached KMS Principal Susan Wistrand with the idea, and she was thrilled, as it’s her goal to get parents into the building.

“I was just tickled pink when she volunteered,” Wistrand said.

The district’s maintenance crew also got on board the painting wagon. Wistrand said the last few weeks of school they’d work evenings to remove any imperfections so the walls were paint-ready. The approximately 15 gallons of paint and primer used were also donated from maintenance, as a surplus of supplies remained from construction projects.

Wednesday through Friday of last week Flanders, the parents and an army of student volunteers taped, primed and painted the walls.

On Wednesday approximately 10 student Picassos were back in school during the first official week of summer.

Lauren Miller, an incoming eighth-grader, donned a paint brush to earn some of her 10 community volunteer hours required for Honors Society.

And she had fun sprucing up her school.

“I think it’s great because the walls have always been kind of gray and dingy,” Miller said. “I’m having fun because my friends are here and we all get to be together.”

Last week’s three day KMS makeover effort was just the first phase of a broader project to make the school “more welcoming.”

Wistrand and the Associated Student Body members have been talking about ways to brighten the school’s atmosphere and make it reflect the diversity of the students.

When one walks through the entry way doors there’s not a whole lot there in greeting, except for a small sign that reads “office.”

“You don’t get a flavor for our school and that’s what we want to change,” Wistrand said.

The plan is to listen to the students to see what they’d like on the walls and then partner with Kingston High School art teacher James Andrews and the advanced art students to develop the designs, color combinations and apply with paint the student’s suggestions.

Wistrand envisions concepts of leadership, student achievement and diversity in color around the school. She said the ongoing aesthetic improvements will take place throughout next year.

“This is their (students) first impression,” Wistrand said, glancing around the entryway Wednesday afternoon. “And I think when kids see something that looks nice that gives them a feeling that sets their tone. I’m just beyond excited.”

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