‘Wall of Kindness’ replaces construction wall with love and beauty at Normandy Elementary

Normandy Elementary second-graders (left-to-right) Olivia McIntire, Alexa Feicks and Billy Willmitch stand in front of the Wall of Kindness.

A blank wall is just an invitation to those with artistic vision. Bay Village’s Normandy Elementary School, in the process of having a new addition constructed, had a blocked and covered exit door that didn’t stand a chance of staying unadorned for long.

A beautiful arrangement of pastel squares now covers the unpainted drywall underneath, and each square is decorated with a student self-portrait and a suggestion for showing kindness to others. It is labeled, “Wall of Kindness.”

Those studying the wall will find dozens of suggestions for being kind. "Say good morning to a friend," says one square. "Treat others the way you want to be treated," says another. “Make your teacher joyful,” is sure to be a favorite with many adults in the school.

Hope Feicks, mother of second-grader Alexa and an interior designer and color consultant, went to the second-grade teachers in that wing of the school with her idea for a kindness wall. Feicks saw in the blank space an opportunity to not only add beauty, but to promote the theme of kindness. “Given that some bullying incidents were in the news, I thought a message of kindness would be great for our school and our students,” she said.

Second-grade teachers Mrs. Bogart, Mrs. Donohue, Mrs. Evans and Mrs. Kinkelaar incorporated the kindness lessons into the classroom, and students read “The Kindness Quilt” by Nancy Wallace. The second-graders then went to work using their imaginations to help create the beautiful wall.

Feicks provided commercial-sized pastel paint chips, provided by her former employer, Sherwin Williams, in the colors that matched her pre-designed layout. “I had worked in a department that named the colors,” she said. “So it was fun for me to lay them out with my daughter and talk about how we came up with the color names.”

The squares were mounted on foam core and hung with a non-marking adhesive. A whiteboard was also added on the side so that people could leave their own kindness sticky notes. The project took a couple weeks, and the result was a display that emanates kindness both visually and in words.

“I talk about kindness a lot with my daughter,” said Feicks. “Each night I ask her, ‘when did you have kindness in your heart today?’”

Feelings of kindness are sure to fill the hearts of all who are lucky enough to see Normandy Elementary’s Wall of Kindness.

Karen Derby

Director of Communications for the Bay Village City School District

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Volume 6, Issue 23, Posted 9:50 AM, 11.11.2014