Saltillo among finalists for paint makeover

By Chris Kieffer/NEMS Daily Journal

SALTILLO – Community members can help Saltillo Elementary School receive a fresh splash of colorful paint.
The school is one of five national finalists in Glidden paint’s “Colorful Classrooms Contest,” which involves a nationwide search for the one elementary school in most need of a complete makeover for its classrooms.
The school that receives the most online votes will win up to 200 gallons of Glidden paint, valued at $50,000. The painting will be done by parent company AkzoNobel and its contractors.
Members of the public can vote until Oct. 26 at
The winner will be notified on Oct. 29.
“Our school is one of the oldest in the district, and it is in bad need of a face-lift,” said Principal Belinda McKinion. “With the size of our school, we obviously couldn’t afford to do it without this grant. The district couldn’t afford to do a total makeover.”
Saltillo Elementary School was chosen from 320 schools in 43 states based on an application and video it submitted. The approximately 800-student third- to fifth-grade school said it would use the grant to put inspirational murals in its auditorium and hallways. McKinion said it also would like to add them in hallways, classrooms and entrances of the building, which was constructed during the 1950s.
“We want to fill all of the spaces with inspiring paintings and quotes for our children and our community,” she said.
Other finalists are schools in Kent, Ohio; Gallup, N.M.; Lancaster, Calif.; and Atlanta.
To vote, visit the Glidden website and click on the “Colorful Classrooms” slide. That will pull up another website for voting. From that page, people can also click “Learn About Our Finalists” to view a profile about Saltillo, including a link to the video submitted by the school.
In it, four students discuss the fact that the cafeteria looks “yucky” and that it would be awesome if they only had the money to put in murals they could see every day. That would allow them to “munch with Monet, dine with Degas and eat with Escher,” they said.
Individuals can vote one time from each computer, phone, tablet or other device.
Saltillo Elementary School is also a participant in the Whole School Arts Initiative through the Mississippi Arts Commission. That means the school teaches all subjects through the arts.
“The cafeteria has taken a lot of wear and tear, and they wanted to have some inspirational murals to expose children to the arts more,” said Gena Yarbrough, lead elementary art teacher for the Lee County School District. “We really need the community’s help.”

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