Students at Gotha Middle are utilizing chalk to help express themselves and bring joy to those around campus with the new “Chalk Your Walk.”
| 10:00 a.m. March 3, 2021
For Gotha Middle School Principal Monica Emery, if there is a chance to spread positivity, she is going to take it.
Such is the case with the school’s newest challenge, inspired by a trend that gained traction early in the pandemic — “Chalk Your Walk.”
“The idea is that here on campus, we decorate the sidewalks and courtyard with positive messages and promoting kindness and self love, and encourage our families to do that in their own communities, too,” Emery said. “It’s kind of just to remember that it is important to be kind, and we’re all going through a lot, and it’s OK.”
During the early days of COVID-19, the trend utilized the simple medium of sidewalk chalk to allow children to express themselves while also trying to bring a bit of normalcy back to their homes and communities.
Student government advisers brought up the idea, mentioning that they missed the normalcy of the many fun activities that the school would do before COVID-19 happened. Out of those discussions came other ideas, as well — including a special video creation to celebrate this year’s eighth-graders.
Beginning the second week of February, students took to the sidewalks and courtyard on campus and wrote simple messages, like, “Social distance doesn’t mean we aren’t together,” and another surrounded by hearts that read, “Smile together, everyone matters.”
“I think it made them feel good,” Emery said. “Our campus — before it rained, the end of last week — was covered; I mean, I have tons of pictures. I just like to see them do fun things, and I feel like there hasn’t been a lot of fun — it’s just been a lot of strange, and even though we are seven months into the school year here, it’s still just strange.
“It made me feel good to see kids being creative and being artistic, and it made the campus so much brighter,” she said. “And I think the kids appreciate that.”
For students around campus, the simple creations that lined their school did certainly mean a lot, said Natalia Semaan, a seventh-grader.
“Positivity isn’t an emotion or status; it is a way of life that you choose,” she said. “Everyone matters and deserves recognition. This event gave many people a way to notice that they matter.”
Others, such as seventh-graders Erin Tomeu and Alisander Henderson, connected with some of messages and drawings.
“When I saw the chalk work, I felt more motivated and self-confident,” Tomeu said. “It made me happy to know that somebody’s day may have been brightened like mine because of the art.”
Along with the messages of positivity and the colorful drawings that have added a sense of creativity around the school, there is a lot of pride in helping get this movement put together for students who were involved.
Those involved with the student government voiced a concern — in this case, a need for doing something in the face of a weird year — and were heard. That was big for Sydney Gass — who serves as the eighth-grade student government president.
“I was very happy that we were able to help spread positivity within the student body and pride in our school,” she said. “Ideas from the students are being represented and listened to.”
And just like every year, the school also is doing multiple fun videos — the first of which focuses on the school’s eighth-graders, who are missing out on the normal events that would generally get to do if there was no pandemic. Thanks to a green screen and video editing, the video was able to be done a couple of weeks ago.
Then, finally, Gotha Middle will create its yearly video that features the whole school, which will take place March 9 and 10.
“It’s important — I think — for our mental health just to do something that is a little bit fun,” Emery said. “We’ve always been about positivity and kindness here.”