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Machen brings new life to trailer with Hampton Clean City Commission grant

Janet Heller, math interventionist at Machen Elementary School, had a vision to turn a not so aesthetically pleasing trailer at Machen into a work of art. She was able to accomplish this with the help of a $500 grant from the Hampton Clean City Commission and lots of volunteer assistance.

The trailer, which sits to the left of the school, houses the Machen University Corner program. It faces the park/playground area, and over the past few years has become an unpleasant part of the campus.

“I wanted to clean it up so the students would feel like all of their Machen campus was a beautiful place to learn and be - not just the inside of the school,” said Heller.

Students from the University Corner program helped Heller get the project started by getting the side of the building sanded down and ready for paint. They then had volunteers from Langley Air Force base help with the painting of the primer coat and staining the ramp. Over this past summer Heller laid out the mural, and painted the rays as the weather and temperature permitted.

Once school began this year Heller was able to coordinate with the Hampton City Schools print shop to get the letters that would finish the mural and make it an inspiration to the students that attend the school. Heller said that throughout the entire process many people stopped by and commented on how much nicer the finished product was going to look for the school and the neighborhood.

“Even though this was a huge undertaking, I am proud of the end result and hope it inspires the students at Machen to keep reaching for everything that is possible,” shared Heller. “I believe in a quote from Lady Bird Johnson that says, ‘Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them.’ Hopefully this mural will let our students know that all of the Machen faculty and staff is here to help every child reach for the stars and discover their own unique potentials!”