October 03, 2012 - Every day when Clarkston Elementary students walk into the cafeteria Clark is there to remind them to be on their best behavior.
Fifth-graders Sophie Little and Nikhil Shaw remember how to be good people when they see Clark and his mural. Photo by Wendi Reardon (click for larger version)
Clark, their blue and gold dragon mascot, sits 15-feet tall on one of the walls with rocks surrounding him.
But they aren't just any old rocks - they are R.O.C.K.S. Each one stands for something different - Respectful, Own your behavior, Cooperate, Kind and Safe.
"It stands for what we are shooting for," said Nikhil Shaw, a fifth-grader. He pointed to the bucket in front of Clark filled with rocks. "It shows we are bucketfillers. You never want to dip into someone else's bucket. You want to fill other people's buckets."
Sophie Little, a fifth grader, explained a filled bucket means someone is happy. A bucket can be filled by cheering for the person or just being nice to them. Being mean is dipping into the bucket and taking away from the person.
The first time Little saw the mural she thought it was really cool.
"It reminds us to be a dragon everyday," she smiled. "It is a nice reminder to keep everyone's buckets full - just like Clark's bucket."
Fourth grader Hayden Payne glanced up at Clark and explained he tries to be a dragon on the playground.
"I am safe outside," he said, adding he doesn't play sports when other kids say to do something not allowed. "I go and tell someone. I help to make the situation better."
Shaw explained he tries to be a dragon by being a leader.
"If someone needs help, you help them," he said. "When other people are sad, you cheer them up. You are respectful to new kids and show them around."
Shaw pointed to the wolf in the background and explained he strives to be a Clarkston Wolf when he leaves the elementary.
"We want them to be dragons now so they will be positive Wolves when they move into the future," said Principal Brian Adams.
He explained the concept for the mural came from a program they started last year on Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS). They created "CE R.O.C.K.S." and posted signs throughout the school to remind students.
"We talked to the kids about positive behavior and what it looks like," he said. "It's nice to see the kids walking down the hallway doing these things and you can compliment them and say 'wow, I can see you are really being a dragon and helping out.'"
The PTO liked the concept and worked on giving the students a visual. They brought in Kevin Burdick, a 27-year-old artist from Fenton to work on the project.
"The kids are making good choices and making this a special place," said Adams. "They treat each other really well around here."