‘Dream It, Believe It, Achieve It’: Teachers’ Bathroom Makeover Offers Messages of Inspiration for Girls in Alabama MS
This article is one in a series at The 74 that profiles the heroes, victories, success stories, and random acts of kindness to be found at schools all across America. Read more of our recent inspiring profiles at The74million.org/series/inspiring.
If there’s anyplace where middle school girls’ insecurities are magnified, it’s in the student bathroom. So a group of Alabama seventh-grade teachers gave the girls’ bathroom at Simmons Middle School in Hoover a makeover, painting the walls and adorning the space with inspirational messages.
“Beautiful girl, you can do amazing things.”
“Middle school is tough,” English language arts teacher Laura Missildine told AL.com. “Girls need a little love and encouragement.”
“She leaves a little sparkle wherever she goes.”
The five teachers — Missildine, Winnie Davis, Allison Harrelson, Charvon Jackson-Lassiter, and Sue Martindale — took over the space the week before school started, turning a wall mint green and then applying vinyl decals, custom-made for the project by Jackson-Lassiter, with words of love and support.
“Happy girls are the prettiest girls.”
Missildine said Principal Brian Cain had encouraged staff to “own” sections of the building, and last year an art teacher turned the staff bathroom into a spa-like oasis. “We felt our girls needed something like that, somewhere girls can go to call their own,” she said. “We wanted them to have a retreat.”
“Be your own kind of beautiful.”
The messages appear on the stall doors, along the walls, and above the mirrors, a do-it-yourself project that all the teachers pitched in on and enjoyed because it was for their students.
“Dream it, believe it, achieve it.”
“Our girls deserve it,” Missildine said. “It brings me joy to do it for them.”
“You are beautiful.”
Next up: the boys’ room.