UF Students Make-over Duval Elementary
17 trees, 40 murals and 400 books equals one happy school. A University of Florida student organization is busy transforming a local elementary school.
1200 UF students left their campus this weekend to make-over another in Northeast Gainesville.
Executive Director Sarah Stout said, "We're getting to see a piece of Gainesville changed."
Months of planning and fundraising culminated in $5,000 and three days of volunteer work at Duval Elementary. It's called the "UF Project Makeover."
Stout said, "You know this isn't just money you're raising to send off to a charity somewhere else. 15 minutes across town, hundreds of kids are happier because of what you did." Stout says Duval is the fourth school they've made-over as a team.
Students took shifts landscaping and painting murals around campus.
Stout said, "It's about making the lasting impact of making their school a better place."
The wall murals are not just decorative. They're designed to continue the learning process when students step outside of the classroom. Stout said, "So we actually looked at the cirriculum of the various grades and then with the teachers' inputs, planned the murals around them."
The educational murals show American history, fractions and the alphabet among other things. 5th grade teacher Stephanie Blaine plans to use the scientific process mural to help her students prepare for the FCAT. Blaine said, "There's a big circle outside that shows the process is a circle...so I see us putting an actual science project that we're working on."
Stout says all the time and energy poured into this school is meant to show students in an often under served area that there are people who believe in them.
Principal Donna Jones says it means the world to the Duval community. She said, "Reaching out to your community and serving in a way that is meaningful sends a very strong message to students."
Monday is the big reveal when students will get to see their school's transformation first hand at the FCAT rally.
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