Mary Todd Elementary

Lexington, Kentucky

Excellence for all in academics, wellness, and citizenship.

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  • Bottle cap mural reflects what's special at Mary Todd

    Mary Todd Elementary has tied a bow on the 2018-19 school year with a colorful new mural made of salvaged bottle caps. “It’s a big accomplishment for everyone who helped with this project,” said fifth-grader Elijah Gridley. “People new to the school, it can give them a perspective that this would be a very nice school and fun, (where) you love to learn.”

    The 18-foot mural, which spans the front hallway, features a guitar from music class, books from the library, sports equipment for P.E., a lightbulb and magnet from science experiments, tennis shoes for recess, and of course the school’s mascot. “One of the most defining characteristics of Mary Todd is our diversity, so our bulldog is sitting on a globe with paw prints from where students are actually from,” said Joseph Wrightson, the arts and humanities teacher.

    STEM lab teacher Joe Harman had collected bottle caps for three years when he approached Wrightson about turning the disposable plastic into art. Wrightson first talked with his classes about what is a mural and how it can illustrate the heart of a community. “We got in groups and shared ideas. It was good for creativity and important for the school,” said fifth-grader Yaritza Guerrero Ortiz, adding, “I feel great about it!”

    All the students came up with positive images they thought best represented Mary Todd, and Wrightson melded their suggestions into a cohesive design. He guided students using a grid method to map and transfer the design from paper to plywood, which the youngsters painted. The older students then attached the corresponding bottle caps with rubber cement. “A lot of them gave up their recess and free time to help. They really got into it,” Wrightson said. Construction took about a month, and the mural was installed with two weeks left in the school year.

    “Our bottle cap mural fully encapsulates the mission that collaboration within an entire community leads to success. It also celebrates diversity both in individual passions for learning and in our multicultural student body,” Wrightson said. “One of the exciting things is watching the kids go up to the mural and say, ‘Oh, I worked on that.’ It really brings the school together to know that every student played a part.”

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