School bathrooms traditionally have had a bad rap.
But two Evans Middle School teachers armed with bleach and a few decorating ideas turned one typical restroom at the school into something closer to a powder room.
Pupils at EMS found the surprise when they returned from fall break a few weeks ago.
During their days off, Lorraine Hall, a seventh-grade social studies teacher and former Columbia County Teacher of the Year, and Teri Seader, a middle-school gifted social studies teacher, spent hours scrubbing the seventh-grade girls bathroom, using gallons of bleach to remove layers of grime and graffiti.
"The bathrooms aren't dirty. They were maintained. But they were old, and they smelled," Principal Myrel Seigler said. "The girls were consistently saying they had no place to put their books, except on the floor. Next thing I know, Dr. Hall and Ms. Seader are putting in bookshelves and borders."
Evans Middle School teachers Lorraine Hall (left) and Teri Seader spent part of their fall break scrubbing and decorating a girls bathroom at Evans Middle School.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Armed with three gallons of bleach and a Black & Decker Scum Buster, the women tackled the scuff marks and grunge. After cleaning, they put up a floral wallpaper border, made appliques for the paper towel dispensers and hung pictures in clear-plastic frames.
"All the boys are saying, 'We don't have to have a floral border in our bathroom, do we?"' Seader said.
The teachers also purchased soft-soap dispensers and a tall three-tier shelf so the pupils would have a place to put their books and purses. The bookshelf is topped by a box of tissue, a vase with flowers and an air freshener.
"I was amazed at how clean it was," said Amber Niklinski, a sixth-grader.
The new restroom decor has created envy in other grades, Seigler said.
"I think the eighth-graders want it on their hall," he said. "It gave the students a sense of pride and thankfulness that the teachers cared to go above and beyond to make their school a nice place for learning. It's just the fact that the teachers cared enough to meet some of their needs."
Seader and Hall are hoping their project will inspire other parents, pupils and teachers to do the same in other school bathrooms and are seeking donations of money, products and services.
"We want to literally start a flush fund," Hall said.
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