CEDAR GROVE, NJ - Cedar Grove middle schoolers may have woken up to a rainy Monday morning, but they were in for a sunny surprise when they arrived at school.
Unbeknownst to the students, the pathway to school had secret messages written on the pavement and it took the rainy morning to reveal them.
"Rainworks" are stencil graphics that only appear when wet. Board of Education member David Schoner came across the idea several months ago and approached principal Nicholas DeCorte who gave the project a green light.
"I approached Principal Nick DeCorte months ago with the idea of doing this. He loved the idea and thought it would be a fantastic thing to greet the kids and staff on rainy days," Schoner explained. "We told no one about it because we wanted everyone to be surprised and not to expect it."
Art teacher Amanda Hatzikyriakou designed and made the stencils, which will last for three months. Schoner noted that Rainworks only works on concrete or "light" surfaces so because the high school and elementary schools entranceways are asphalt or blocks it won't work there. Rainworks is an environmentally friendly application that you spray over a stencil.
Two weeks ago Schoner and Jill Spiegel spent five hours on a Saturday afternoon stenciling the graphics, which give messages like "Smile," "Life is Good" and "Be Kind." Today's rainy morning revealed the messages to the students as they arrived to school.
"I am always trying to think "outside the box" on things that can be done with the schools and this idea I thought would be fun and positive," Schoner said. "There's so many ways we can be innovative - even in a small ways with our students. At times there can be so few positive surprises in life - let this be one of them."