A place where some students hide from their problems now inspires and encourages positivity at Ironwood Ridge High School.
The project, launched in September, focuses on spreading love and kindness by decorating restroom stalls and mirrors throughout their school with uplifting and comedic quotes.
“A bathroom is a place where people can go when they’re feeling sad and want to escape from whatever stress is going on that day,” said Elizabeth Utley, president of the Ironwood Ridge National Honor Society. “We wanted to make sure that people felt positive, encouraged and loved.”
The Ironwood Ridge chapter of NHS is at the forefront of this project, with hopes to not only encourage students to love themselves but to also manifest a butterfly effect that leads other schools into doing the same.
For now, the project has only reached three female restrooms. Inside, students can find a variety of quotes, reading “you are powerful, beautiful, brilliant and brave” or “sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart” and “think like a proton and be positive.”
On the mirrors, students can also find imprinted quotes and drawings to help them get inspired and feel supported while looking at themselves.
“People can go into the restroom to look at themselves and seeing a positive quote can lead them to think more highly about themselves,” said NHS Secretary Alyse Utley.
Students in different educational levels can carry a heavy amount of stress. Specifically, in high school, where students may find themselves struggling with mental health and identity crises.
“We recognize that mental health has no age or gender,” Utley said. “You never know when someone is struggling and when they are severely in need of help.”
In addition to the quotes, there are also around six crisis hotline numbers posted in the stalls that serve as a reminder for students that they are not alone and there is help out there.
According to NHS, the response from other students at the school has been rewarding. They’ve posted pictures of the project on social media and have talked about how grateful they feel to be supported in their own school and community.
Shortly after the project was introduced to the school, an anonymous individual took it upon themselves to decorate the staff bathroom with their own materials but with the same messages of encouragement.
The project quickly motivated someone else to do their part, and the NHS students believe the movement will spread.
“We would love to see what other schools do and the impact it can have,” Utley said. “Ultimately, you don’t need to be a member of NHS to promote service, change and positivity.”
The NHS has plans to expand the project into more staff and men’s restrooms. To accomplish this, they are looking for volunteers and donations. Contact Ironwood Ridge High School at 696-3900 to help.
Additionally, if other schools around the area want to get involved, the NHS is happy to help implement a project. Anyone looking for guidance on this matter can email NHS Advisor Mark Pincus at email@example.com.
Vianney Cardenas is a University of Arizona journalism student and Tucson Local Media intern.