Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 27, 2000
Butterflies dress up school's walls
Parent takes charge of St. Paul's millennium project
By ANH HOANG
WCR Staff Writer
With the help of the 300 students at St. Paul's Elementary School, Pat Rosenberger brought a little of the blue sky into the bleak hallways of the school.
The closet artist and mother of two students at St. Paul's has spent more than 180 hours pouring paint and giving advice to students as they individually hand paint their butterflies against a sponged blue background.
"They had given me two years to do this," said Rosenberger of the project dubbed the Millennium Butterfly Project. She expects to complete it before Easter.
The project dates back to October 1999 when Rosenberger was asked by principal Lucille Charrois to put some colour into the walls of the west-side school.
Actually the inspiration for the project began even before that when Rosenberger first painted a tree on a small wall outside her son's classroom early last year. Each of the students' hands was imprinted on the branches of the tree.
The kaleidoscope of colours on the tree was a vibrant mosh of blues, greens, orange, red and yellow handprints that brought personality to an otherwise dull off-white hallway. After that project, Rosenberger was asked to paint a chair in her son's classroom. She was later commissioned to paint a door. Then the butterfly project came to fruition.
"She's a great parent," Charrois said of Rosenberger. "She's always here at the school helping out."
For the project, Rosenberger cut out various butterfly shapes, put them on transparencies and stenciled about 300 of them along the bottom half wall in the hallways throughout the school. She works with two students at a time, helping them to paint each butterfly, the school's logo.
Her face beams when she talks of how the walls of butterflies have spruced up the school.
"It makes such a difference," she said. "The hallways are so much brighter. It makes such a difference when you come into the school and see how colourful it is."
The students are equally excited. Only two classes have yet to paint their butterflies. Students see Rosenberger coming down the hallway with her white plastic box of paint and anxiously ask if it's their turn to paint.
The students also like to show off their butterflies when they get the chance. Each butterfly includes the name of the student who painted it and the date.
"This gives me a great sense of accomplishment," said Rosenberger, who hopes to one day start her own painting business. "I love painting. Every house we've ever had, I do my own painting."
Already thinking about her next project, Rosenberger wonders what array of colours she'll splash on the walls of the school's stairwell.
"No butterflies in here," she laughed. "I think we have enough of them now."