June 06, 2012 - Lakeville Elementary is a brighter and more colorful place these days thanks to some vibrant new murals created by students and parent volunteers.
Lakeville Elementary parent Holly Leckrone stands beside one of the murals she helped create. With her are her children Iden, Esme and Solomon Roda. Photo by C.J. Carnacchio. (click for larger version)
As visitors enter the school and look to the left, they are immediately struck by these amazing, eye-catching images of a tree, flowers, the sun, a cloud and the pièce de résistance, a giant rainbow-colored butterfly.
"We sort of wanted a park setting because of the benches (next to the school's front doors)," explained Holly Leckrone, the parent who suggested the mural idea and spearheaded this unique artistic endeavor.
"I love the colors," she continued. "When you step back and look at it, it's like 'Wow!'"
What's even more impressive that is they were created using thousands of plastic lids and caps purposely diverted from recycling bins and trash cans.
"We started collecting caps in November and stopped right around spring break," Leckhorn said. "Once we got going, it was hard to stop. People kept bringing in caps."
The caps and lids came from bottles and containers that once held milk, cream, laundry detergent, frosting, butter, yogurt and other everyday products. The variety of colors included green, purple, orange, yellow, blue, red, brown and black.
Leckhorn got the idea for the project from Ranger Rick magazine, a nature/environmental kids publication put out by the National Wildlife Federation.
"I liked the fact that it's all recycled and that everybody could contribute," she said. "Not everybody can bring in (money), but everybody can save a lid."
When asked exactly how many caps and lids were used to make the murals, Leckrone was uncertain. However, she did know how many screws were used to affix the lids.
"We bought 9,300 screws," she said. "When the whole project's done, we'll have used all of them."
But the student body didn't just save lids and bring them to school, they actually rolled up their sleeves and worked on the murals.
The K-2 students did all the painting, while the kids in grades 3-5 did all the drilling and screwed each cap and lid into place.
"Every kid in the school had a hand in it," Leckrone said. "Some kids were just thrilled to be a part of something so big. When we hung it, they knew exactly which part they did. It definitely has meaning for them."
The project was not only a school-wide effort, it was also a family affair for Leckrone, her husband Kirk Roda and their three children – second-grader Esme Roda and kindergartners Iden and Solomon Roda.
The kids washed, dried and sorted lids at home, while Kirk lent his carpentry skills to the murals.
"My family's been a huge part of this," Leckrone said. "This has been our life for months. It was a big project."
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.