Paint project encouraging students at Oakman Middle

Posted 9/8/18

OAKMAN — Vibrant paint and words of inspiration are brightening the days for students at Oakman Middle School. Over the summer, restrooms at Oakman Middle were each decorated with a unique …

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Paint project encouraging students at Oakman Middle


OAKMAN — Vibrant paint and words of inspiration are brightening the days for students at Oakman Middle School. 

Over the summer, restrooms at Oakman Middle were each decorated with a unique paint scheme — from hot air balloons and beautiful flowers to pineapples and busy bees. Each space is designed with a particular age group in mind.  

School reading specialist Jessica Thompson and reading interventionist Jennifer Willingham said the paint project had been planned for the past two or three years and was made a reality during the summer.

The Walker County Board of Education funded paint for the project.

Willingham and Thompson, along with help from other school employees and a couple of parents, spent a few weeks painting the restroom walls and adding words of inspiration for students.

One restroom paint scheme reads, "Be a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown and stay sweet on the inside," while another reads, "I rise by lifting others."

"We wanted it to be a positive message for the kids. If they're having a bad day or something is not going right, they can read that message and feel better," Thompson said. "We've been in the building seven years, and I just thought it was time to add a little bit of color, a little bit of positivity to the walls, and we're hoping that we can bring it out into the hallways and into the classrooms."

Each of the school's six restrooms are painted with different words of inspiration that blend with the color choices.  

"The kids love it," Willingham said. "They like to talk about which restroom is their favorite, which color is their favorite. It's been good, because before we just had these same gray walls in the restrooms."

Paint isn't the only implementation to enhance the school environment. The school now plays positive music during drop-off times, and school employees are working hard to keep their website updated in order to share information and photographs of happenings at the school.

Their website can be found by visiting

Oakman Middle is also working with the Town of Oakman to formulate a plan for creating a community pantry — their designated project since being named an Alabama Bicentennial School. 

Rose Simpson, a teacher at Oakman Middle, was leading the community pantry project, but she was recently involved in an automobile accident. During her months of recovery ahead, Thompson and Willingham say they are determined to keep the momentum going that she started.

Above all, school employees are striving to create a loving environment for their over 700 students and encouraging each child to be their best self. Willingham and Thompson say fostering character was a large part of the paint project as well.   

"We want the kids to feel safe here. We want them to be happy, and we want this to be a place that they look forward to coming to," Willingham said. "We wanted to show them that we love them, and we care about them."

Thompson added, "What I want the kids to understand is that anytime we're in this building together, it's going to be a great day. That's why we're trying to bring all this positivity in."