Inspirational writing on the wall for Upper Darby elementary school students

Mike DeNardo
August 19, 2018 - 12:30 am
You Matter

Upper Darby School District

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UPPER DARBY, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — When students at Upper Darby's Garrettford Elementary School head back to class next week, they'll find inspiration in an unlikely place.

On the walls at Garrettford Elementary, there are new uplifting messages like "You Matter" and "You are beautiful. You are strong.  You are worth it."  But those walls are in the bathrooms. 

You are beautiful
Upper Darby School District

Former Garrettford teacher Becky McAllister won a $550 Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation grant to paint the motivational messages at a school where more than half of the students are economically disadvantaged.

"Sometimes kids go to the bathroom to escape what's going on in the classroom when things are hard there for them," McAllister said. "And it's just a sort of quiet place of solitude. So I wanted it to be in the bathroom on purpose."

You are enough
Upper Darby School District

McAllister, who now works in West Chester, says it's every teacher's wish to make a lifelong impact on students. And she hopes these messages will.

"I really loved the thought of them looking themselves in the mirror and reading these words and sort of internalizing it.  So if they're having a horrible day and they go in the bathroom and they see the sign that says 'You Matter,' I hope that they take that to heart."

She says the effort dovetails with the school's theme of "Change your words, change your mind."

You make the world more awesome
Upper Darby School District