A partnership between Altrusa International, Drug-Free Delta County, and Partners Mentoring created the "Only One You" project with Lincoln Elementary and Garnet Mesa Elementary in Delta. Students from kindergarten to fifth grade painted unique "rockfish" that volunteers laid in a "stream" near the front doors of Bill Heddles Recreation Center on Oct. 13. The three organizations gathered at the location on Saturday, Oct. 14, to officially dedicate the project.
Thelma Starner of Altrusa International says the project wouldn't have been possible without the art teachers at both elementary schools, who helped the students paint their "rockfish" for two weeks. "The kids had a great time. They did a wonderful job and they had such great ideas... I couldn't believe all of the innovative things that they painted," Starner said. Students stopped by the recreation center on Friday after the rocks had been laid to identify the ones they had created.
The dedication ceremony brought together representatives from all three organizations, who spoke about the influence they hope the project had on the community. Starner said, "This art will be here for many years to come, and we hope that a few years down the road, these students will come back with friends to find their art and remember the experience."
She also says the organizations hope to add to the "stream" in the future with more student art.
"Overall, this was a great experience for those of us who worked on it," she says.
Pam Bliss, who opened the dedication ceremony, agreed. "We loved working in the schools with the teachers, principals and kids," she said. She specifically mentioned principals Jen Magner and Joe Mock, as well as art teachers Brandy Davis and Bobbi Hutchison.
She added, "When we shared our project with Bill Heddles Rec Center, Wilma, Renee and the staff were happy to partner with us, providing this beautiful spot for us to place our symbolic stream."
The project was inspired by the children's picture book "Only One You" by Linda Krantz, and approximately 1,200 Delta elementary students participated. The permanent sign in front of the "creek" states the takeaway message of the project and the moral of the book: "There is only one you in this great big world. Make it a better place."