ESCANABA Mich. (WJMN) – Beth Peterson, the lower elementary art teacher for Escanaba Schools, created a fun way to inspire children in the schools. She created colorful and inspiring murals for the hallways in John Lemmer Elementary School and Webster Elementary School. The murals bring colorful, fun images together with inspiring phrases about leadership to keep the students engaged in the Leader in Me program.

“The important things about these murals is that it changes the feeling of the buildings.” said Peterson. “It changes the environment, because a few years ago Lemmer and Webster changed to grade level buildings, so Webster is now the kindergarten center, and it used to be a K-6 building, so that’s how it was designed. So, the feeling of the murals turns it into more of an early childhood feeling. So, the murals are bright, they’re whimsical. The murals at Lemmer, same thing. It also tells about the leader in me qualities. Like, there’s murals about kindness, and the seven habits that leaders should emulate and they should aspire to.”

Peterson began working on these murals in 2020 during the height of the COVID 19 pandemic. She was able to work on them due to having a lot of extra time. Some other faculty members helped bring these murals to life. The murals do not only bring joy to the kids, but they were a great way to bring the faculty together during a time where there weren’t many chances to socialize.

“During the pandemic in 2020, people were pretty isolated,” said Peterson. “So, when we were working inside the buildings and we could actually see each other and we were working together on those murals, everybody was painting and everybody was so happy just to be connected in that way. And we were all working for a common goal. And when you’re painting a mural, you can see the progress immediately, you know? And I know that those teachers that were helping paint it can walk down the hallways and feel pride because they know that they contributed to that and that’s going to be there for a long time.”