Ramona Elementary School recently had a unique fundraiser, one that would literally give back year after year. The idea came to fourth-grade teacher Sandra Jimenez while she was at an art festival with her nephew.
“I was watching him paint a square on the street pavement when I thought about doing it with tiles,” said Jimenez. “I ran the idea by Mrs. Munoz (Ramona Elementary principal), my fourth-grade teaching partner Mr. Hanford, and our classroom parent Mrs. Espinoza, and with their support the ball started rolling.”
This fundraiser was a first for the school. They provided the 6-inch-by-6-inch tiles, paint and the location to paint, and parents, students, teachers, and community members provided the creativity and enjoyment. Lowe’s of San Marcos even got in on the fundraiser by giving a discount on the material needed and their expertise as to what kind of primer and sealer to use.
Participants were able to paint their tiles in December and the tiles were mounted on the cafeteria wall the last Saturday in January. The tiles were sold for $5 each, and more than 240 tiles were painted.
“This was an opportunity for parents, parents, relatives and staff to support the fourth grade and help create a lasting memory,” said Munoz.
“Some teachers chose to do a theme design to represent their class,” said Jimenez. “For example, our first grade teachers used thumbs to create faces, and each fingerprint has the name of a student and they also created gardens. Our second-grade teachers used thumbs to create a caterpillar and apple trees to represent their class.”
The proceeds are going toward several fourth-grade events. It will pay for the trip they recently took to Mission San Luis Rey in connection with their social studies curriculum and will also fund the SeaWorld field trip for all 76 fourth-grade students, teachers and chaperones on May 19 in connection with their science curriculum. If there is extra money, they plan to use it to take students to Collier Park in Ramona at the end of the school year.
Jimenez and her team were amazed by the turnout.
“We are reminded daily of the unity and unique diversity of our school population in a visually artistic manner while eating lunch,” she said. “Watching the students’ faces light up and the enthusiastic pointing at the tiles makes us appreciate this activity even more. Our parents and students always amaze us.”
She went on to say, “RE is a family: A family of staff, students, and parents. This project could not have been completed without the support of Mrs. Munoz. We kept her informed throughout the process, and she continued to be our cheerleader for the fundraiser. It was very cool to see Dr. Graeff (school district superintendent) take time from his hectic schedule to come down to our school and personalize his own tile for posterity. He was also joined by Dr. Joe Annicharico (assistant superintendent) and Linda Ball (literacy specialist).”
There are 70 tiles remaining to complete the cafeteria wall and the response to snapping up those final tiles has been overwhelming. Those who missed out are looking forward to having a second chance, and those who painted one hope to paint another.
“We have a wonderful, supportive group of parents and they thought it would be a great way to commemorate their child’s years at Ramona Elementary School,” said Jimenez. “Certain people really stepped up to the plate and helped us achieve our goal. Mr. and Mrs. Espinoza coordinated the installation and were greatly assisted by Mr. and Mrs. Tretera, as well as several students from our school that willingly gave their Saturday morning to see this project to its conclusion. Mrs. Rios, Mrs. Flores, Mrs. Espinoza, and Mrs. Yvonne Mabrey assisted during the painting process.”
As for next year? “We have plenty of walls remaining in the cafeteria and around the school!” she said with a laugh.