Hopewell Junior's Tile Project

Lots of Color in Hopewell’s Creative Alternative to Color Run
Posted on 10/06/2020
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The Tile ProjectDespite having to completely reimagine this year’s format, at least one thing about a popular after-school event at Hopewell Junior School remained intact: lots of color.

But this time, rather than having staff and parent volunteers throw color at them, students spread out on the school’s athletic field and were throwing paint on a blank ceiling tile. All together, the individual tiles will soon form a large display of student expression in the school’s cafeteria. 

The Tile Project was the Hopewell PTSO’s creative response to not being able to execute its traditional Color Run this year amid COVID-19 restrictions. That fundraiser, which started two years ago, has since been adopted by Lakota’s three other junior schools. Beyond fulfilling each school’s fundraising goals in what used to span multiple events, it also serves as a community-building opportunity for students.

“Because we know it’s such an unusual year, we didn’t want to lose sight of our primary goal, which was to bring kids together and just let them be kids,” said Hopewell parent Maggie Panyko, who took a special interest in making sure the reimagined event could include students participating in Lakota’s virtual learning option. 

“This is really cool,” said Hopewell seventh-grader Kennedy McElwee, who is learning virtually this year. “It’s been cool to come back and see my friends.”

Like previous years, the event accomplished more than just giving students a creative outlet to safely spend time together. It also raised a lot of money to support future student programming. More than 100 students participated in the revamped event, raising upwards of $3,000. A significant number of students also generously purchased two tickets to the event, providing for $600 in scholarships for students who wouldn’t have had the financial means to participate. 

A large part of the event’s success can be attributed to the business sponsors that supported the cause and minimized overhead costs. Lowe’s, for example, donated all the ceiling tiles, while Tony’s Pizza provided dinner and DecoArt most of the paint and supplies. The City of Hamilton threw in water bottles, while others like Manilla Orthodontics and Cassinelli Shanker & Baker stepped up as fiscal sponsors. 

The PTSO was even able to offer some impressive raffle prizes without cutting into their profit margin, including a free art class and kit from Pinot’s Palette Liberty Township and a 30-minute discovery flight from Blue Sky Flight Training. 

But in the end, Panyko’s biggest measure of success was the fact that “students were able to get some fresh air, see their friends and just be normal again.”