RANDOLPH, NJ - When Randolph Middle School students and staff return to school in September, they will be greeted by "A Better School....A Better World" mural created by students as part of the Summer Mural Painting Project.

Fifteen middle school students spent the mornings during the week of July 18-22 working with professional artist Caren Frost Olmsted of Basking Ridge from Morris Arts and project coordinator Suzanne Greco, an instructional coach at the middle school, painting the mural in the main hallway across from the auditorium near the entrance.

The colorful mural features students taking care of their environment, enjoying a park with trees and flowers, some of the student's favorite books, etc. The students came up with things they wanted to include in the mural, Olmsted drew them on the wall and she, her assistant Rose Siglin, Greco and the students painted them together throughout the week.

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"I think the theme of this mural..."A Better School...A Better World," perfectly represents the values here at Randolph Middle School," Greco said. "When people come into our school, we want them to see what we're all about. Some of the graphics in the mural show people picking up garbage, planting a garden, playing together in a park, working with Seeing Eye dogs and caring about the earth. Here at RMS, we are always trying to make this world a better place by starting small and doing what we can in the local community. I think the mural really adds a new dimension to the culture here at Randolph Middle School. When all of the students and teachers come back in September, I know they will appreciate all of the hard work the mural students have put in over the summer."

The mural really brightens the hallway of the middle school, observed student Grace Boyer. "Before we did the mural, the wall in the school hallway was white, but ever since we started the mural, it started to come to life. I have been doing art all my life and it is really cool to see all the techniques that can be incorporated into one piece of art."

"I think it is cool how the mural will be here for five to 10 years and when people come in to the middle school, I can tell them how I helped make it," said student Ben S. Weiss.

The mural also brought students together, noted student Juliet Donnelly. "It was really nice for kids from all different grades to get to hang out together and all work together on this project."

The bright colors featured in the mural make a difference in the hallway, noted Sofie Jankiewicz. "The trees...the flowers...the colors just pop. When you walk in the school, you are bound to notice it."

The project was funded by the Randolph Education Foundation, the RMS PTO and students who each paid $100 to participate in the project. The students who participated in the project are: Tobin Todd, Elizabeth Hamiliton, Maria Damiano, Anna Fuertes, Abby McConvery, Ben S. Weiss, Grace Boyer, Spencer Gaffney, Heather Murphy, Juliet Donnelly, Sofie Jankiewicz, Clara Apt, Caroline Apt, Julia Malino and Elle Nathan.