AVON LAKE, OH (WOIO) - Teachers at Troy Intermediate Elementary School in Avon Lake are trying new ways to make their students feel safe, positive, and happy at school.
Starting this semester, Melanie Jaeckin and Kim Johnson began decorating the bathrooms for the fifth and sixth grade girls.
"We just decided we were going to write positive girl quotes on pieces of construction paper, and decorate them, and they just really loved doing that, and it kind of jumped off from there," said Jaeckin.
The girls loved it so much they began writing their own positive messages and posting them in the restrooms themselves.
"To see those messages and how much time girls had put in them, it made it seem like a happier place," said sixth grade student Ella Smith.
Together, the teachers and their students pinned hearts, stars and positive quotes on the walls. They added an array of soaps and lotions to create a more spa-like atmosphere.
All the money to transform the restrooms has come from the teachers' own pockets and donations from the community.
"It always made me feel like I was part of a community, and we all worked together to make our bathrooms look great," said sixth grader Zina Jalabi.
Their teachers say they want to surround the students with positive messages, at a time when social media and other forms of entertainment can be extremely negative.
"I think it is so hard because you're constantly bombarded with images of so-called perfect women, and we want them to realize, they're perfect just the way they are," said Kim Johnson.
The teachers say the girls appreciate their hard work, and they're sharing the joy with each other.
"I mean, every time I see a new girl in the hallway, she says thank you," added Jaeckin. "It's so nice."