The walls of the classrooms and hallways at the Arts Academy at Bella Vista are splashed with color. Any surface or object left unpainted sticks out like a sore thumb.
When Shelly Grim decided to wear a white lab coat while she teaches fourth-grade science, she knew exactly who to call to give the coat some color.
“Here at Bella Vista, we can’t handle anything white,” she said, joking with her students.
Two of her former students, Isaiah Callahan and Jesus Uribe, came to rescue the plain white lab coat. Callahan and Uribe were members of her first class three years ago.
Armed with permanent markers in a variety of colors, the two sixth-graders made the coat “wicked.”
With flames, a peace symbol and the word science, the project is just beginning.
“I’m going to have students from each of my classes add to it. It will eventually be a big, crazy coat,” Grim said.
Callahan and Uribe have practiced art for years. Callahan said he started drawing cars in third grade. Uribe said he began drawing graffiti art and flames in first grade.
“Art brings the colors out and makes it look nice,” Uribe said, looking over the flames he had drawn across the back of the coat.
Grim said she decided to wear the coat on science Wednesdays to get the students more excited about science class.
“They are already excited, but this is a another, ‘Yay, it’s science time’ thing for them,” she said.
Shelly Norris, the school’s principal, said she likes when her students get excited about a project.
“We are always trying to get the kids intrinsically motivated,” she said. “And this is a prime example of that.”