Ledyard students decorate school with inspirational quotes

Ledyard Middle School eighth-graders Katie Harren, 12, left, and Victoria Schweitzer, 13, right, with the help of their mothers, Jennifer Harren, not pictured, Alicia Schweitzer, second from right, and Parent Teacher Connection President Dawn Sullivan, second from left, apply inspirational quotations to the walls of the boys' bathroom at the school Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.  (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Ledyard Middle School eighth-graders Katie Harren, 12, left, and Victoria Schweitzer, 13, right, with the help of their mothers, Jennifer Harren, not pictured, Alicia Schweitzer, second from right, and Parent Teacher Connection President Dawn Sullivan, second from left, apply inspirational quotations to the walls of the boys' bathroom at the school Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

Ledyard — Sometimes you need a confidence boost on the first day of school.

That was the thought of eighth-graders Victoria Schweitzer and Katie Harren, who on Tuesday, the day before classes were to start, spent their afternoon decorating the bathrooms and entrances of Ledyard Middle School with welcoming messages and inspirational quotes.

They continued their work, adding a few more messages and decorations on Wednesday evening.

Their improvements were a welcome sprucing up of the school, as it awaits a $36 million renovation that will transform the building.

The district is excited about the renovation but currently can't spend too much on decorations before the building is stripped down, Ledyard Middle School Principal Christopher Pomroy said.

"It's great to see kids taking initiative like that" and helping out, he said.

Both Schweitzer and Harren were inspired by a Facebook post at another middle school, where students drew elaborate drawings around the mirrors in the school bathroom.

While Schweitzer said she gets excited about returning to school, she said she recognizes that other students may not, and she wanted to have some encouraging words and phrases there for students as they go about their day.

The message was, essentially, "welcome back, be happy, and be yourself," she said.

On Wednesday evening, Schweitzer and Harren, along with their mothers, Alicia Schweitzer and Jennifer Harren, were putting up a few more letters to a quote on a bathroom wall that reads "Words can inspire, words can destroy, choose yours carefully."

"I hear a lot of stuff in the hallway that people shouldn't be saying," Victoria Schweitzer explained.

Both students the previous day had enlisted the help of elementary students from Ledyard Center School to write messages in chalk for the middle school students. They also had decorated the lockers of all 300-plus students at the middle school to celebrate the last day of school in June.

Pomroy said the school will take all of the kindness and positivity it can get. Middle school students, he added, are at an age where they become independent but tend to need more encouragement as they go out on their own.

So when a different group of students put sticky notes with inspiring messages on every student locker in the morning, which inevitably littered the hallway by the afternoon, he said he didn't mind.

"You want positive reinforcement," he said. "It's very positive to see as a principal."

n.lynch@theday.com

Ledyard Middle School eighth-graders Victoria Schweitzer, 13, front, and Katie Harren, 12, with the help of their mothers, Jennifer Harren and Alicia Schweitzer, and Parent Teacher Connection President Dawn Sullivan, not pictured, add accent star stickers after applying inspirational quotations to the walls of the boys' bathroom at the school, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.  (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Ledyard Middle School eighth-graders Victoria Schweitzer, 13, front, and Katie Harren, 12, with the help of their mothers, Jennifer Harren and Alicia Schweitzer, and Parent Teacher Connection President Dawn Sullivan, not pictured, add accent star stickers after applying inspirational quotations to the walls of the boys' bathroom at the school, Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Ledyard Middle School eighth-graders Victoria Schweitzer, 13, left, and Katie Harren, 12, right, with the help of their mothers, Jennifer Harren and Alicia Schweitzer, not pictured, and Parent Teacher Connection President Dawn Sullivan, center, add accent star stickers after applying inspirational quotations to the walls of the boys' bathroom at the school Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.  (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Ledyard Middle School eighth-graders Victoria Schweitzer, 13, left, and Katie Harren, 12, right, with the help of their mothers, Jennifer Harren and Alicia Schweitzer, not pictured, and Parent Teacher Connection President Dawn Sullivan, center, add accent star stickers after applying inspirational quotations to the walls of the boys' bathroom at the school Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Ledyard Middle School eighth-graders Victoria Schweitzer, 13, right, and Katie Harren, 12, with the help of their mothers, Jennifer Harren and Alicia Schweitzer, and Parent Teacher Connection President Dawn Sullivan, not pictured, add accent star stickers after applying inspirational quotations to the walls of the boys' bathroom at the school Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017.  (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)
Ledyard Middle School eighth-graders Victoria Schweitzer, 13, right, and Katie Harren, 12, with the help of their mothers, Jennifer Harren and Alicia Schweitzer, and Parent Teacher Connection President Dawn Sullivan, not pictured, add accent star stickers after applying inspirational quotations to the walls of the boys' bathroom at the school Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. (Sean D. Elliot/The Day)

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