Viking Saga

Using Art to Improve Students’ Days

Ms. Michaud’s classes look to make a difference through art on rocks

William Potopowitz

While trudging into school, you may have recently noticed the student-made “rocks of kindness” outside the front of school. These rocks display kind and thoughtful messages that many students need during these tough times to help them start the day on a positive note. “Painting the rocks was a fun project to start the year, and I know others also thought it was a good thing to do for the other students to spread kindness,”
said sophomore Nathan Lyster. ELHS art teacher Rachel Michaud is the creative director behind this project involving students from each of her art classes and all of her students this year. Ms. Michaud came up with this idea after her town of East Hampton started this at the beginning of the pandemic and lockdown.
Started by two moms in East Hampton during the beginning of the pandemic, this community effort has grown into a great town-wide project. People of all ages participated to spread the message of thankfulness
to essential workers. With rocks scattered around the town in places with considerable foot traffic, the rocks of kindness have touched the hearts of many people. The idea for painting rocks with kind messages came from the “Kindness Rock Project,” a viral trend where people, usually kids, paint rocks and
share them on Facebook for others to see. It all began in Cape Cod in 2015 and has spread across the world, from the U.K. to Australia, and eventually into the East Lyme community. Now, Ms. Michaud decided to
bring the love to ELHS. This idea has evolved into displaying kind messages directed towards everyone to cheer up the collective energy. After seeing the remarkable community effort and participation, Ms. Michaud thought it would be a great idea to implement the project at ELHS. “I did it with each class, and
I feel everyone had fun doing it,” said Ms. Michaud. Michaud said “everyone put maximum effort in
their projects.” Lyster painted the words “be happy” on his rock, a simple message that he felt students
needed right now. The reaction from students that aren’t in art and have seen the rocks has been great, with sophomore Ted Bergman and sophomore John Bureau both saying that the rocks have been the boost they need in the morning when they go to school. “I noticed the rocks right away, and I was impressed by the artistic ability of the students in our school and the ability to spread the message of kindness and togetherness,” said Bergman.

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