By Vanesa Brashier, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tarkington High School students will return to school next Wednesday and be greeted by colorful artwork in the student parking lot. Last week, 50 students in the junior and senior classes personalized their own parking spaces with brightly-painted designs in a new program initiated by High School Principal Lisa Stephens.
“I have seen this type of project elsewhere and I wanted to try it. I wasn’t sure how well it would go over, but it just worked out,” Stephens said.
The participating students paid $50 and provided the paint for their designs, which were pre-approved by district officials. The program was open only to juniors and seniors with a valid driver’s license.
“There were rules about what the parking space could have on it and they had to follow all the same rules as they would to normally get a parking permit,” Stephens said.
Some students incorporated their interests in high school sports or music, while others picked inspirational quotes, a Texas flag or a Whataburger-inspired design.
The designs were painted over a two-day period, which Stephens said happened to coincide with a blistering heat wave over Southeast Texas.
“We started at 7 a.m. in the morning one day, but as the day went on the weather became awful,” said Stephens, adding that some parents set up canopies over the parking spaces so they could continue working without the sun beating down on them. “It was a really a family affair with parents and students painting together.”
Another painting day may be in the future as some of the students who were out of town for the summer now have expressed an interest, she said.
“We are going to look at another paint day after school starts,” Stephens said.
All money raised from the project goes toward attendance incentives for students and teachers. While the money raised might prove beneficial to improving attendance, Stephens said it was not the goal.
“This was all about building student pride in our school,” she said.
(Note: Photos were provided by Tarkington ISD. The aerial image was taken by EC Walker for Tarkington ISD and posted on the district’s Facebook page.)