By: Evan Wechman
At the beginning of the school year, some students will be inspired by their favorite subjects such as Music or Math. This coming year, at Wyoming Elementary School, Principal Kristin Mueller is hoping students find inspiration even in the unlikeliest of places.
This past summer, with the school bathrooms needing an upgrade, Mueller thought the idea of having beautifully painted quotes along with terrific art work in such common spaces would be of great benefit to the students. She felt it would go hand in hand with the schools’ message of “Empowering Student Leaders,” vision which was introduced the previous year. “The look of a school has a real impact on mood, motivation, and behavior,” states the principal, and she thought conveying such messages on the walls in the six student bathrooms would be a positive step.
This move kind of separates Mueller apart from other school principals who seek to beautify common areas such as hallways and libraries, but neglect the much frequented bathrooms. Mueller, however, saw no reason to skip these spaces and sought to strengthen her goal of fostering leadership in every nook and cranny in the school.
The beautification of the bathrooms project contains quotes from various leaders throughout the past decades, each one powerful enough to motivate the children. However, it helped come to fruition from an unlikely source, the late author Stephen Covey.
Covey reached fame for his most popular book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, but he also wrote about fostering leadership in young students. In 2008, Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Happy Kids, was published which contained beautifully illustrated stories that spread positive messages that are still relevant today. Some of the great things that Covey stressed for young students was to have a plan, prioritize, take initiative, and most important of all, to believe in yourself.
Principal Mueller thought that these messages were a good complement to the “Leader in Me,” project that has been taking place in other elementary schools throughout the U.S. based on Covey’s principles. Mueller introduced this same model last year in an effort to “empower students with leadership and other skills.” She is hoping that the beautiful quotes and artistry assist students in becoming tomorrow’s leaders.
One quote that stands out which was painted by MHS senior Betty Zheng in the top floor boy’s bathroom reads “all our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” Mueller also wanted to acknowledge the other students who volunteered their time, talents, and efforts to complete the project. She also mentioned that Natalie Ho, Michelle Qiu, and Annie Tan all made her very proud.
All the messages in the bathrooms are inspiring but Mueller does have a favorite. It reads: “mirror, mirror on the wall, there’s a leader in us all.” She elaborates that “this quote is one of my favorites especially as students look into the mirror and learn that there truly is a leader in all of us no matter what age we are.”