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Students use bottle caps, plastic ware to create mural

The students of Almor West Elementary combined environmental consciousness and art to create a unique mural in front of the main office.

Crystal Berthiaume, art and music teacher, led the students in creating the new art piece that includes the black silhouette of a tree against the backdrop of the setting sun. From afar, it looks like an nice vista with vibrant colors of reds, oranges, yellows and blue and purples. Look closer and you see this mural is made entirely out of bottle caps, plastic lids and even a few kitchen storage containers that would otherwise be in a landfill.

"This is becoming a really popular thing to do, especially outdoors," Berthiaume said. "While we were working on it, we talked about recycling, reusing and repurposing for our students. We wanted to impart on them how important that is."

Work on the mural officially began a year ago, when students were asked to start bringing in all of their caps and plastic lids, instead of throwing them away. Berthiaume wanted students to learn the values of reuse, rather than refuse. The color of the cap didn't matter. She could figure out a way to utilize them once the school had amassed as much as needed.

"When we got them in, we would divide them up into their different colors so that we knew what we were working with," Berthiaume said.

It took a full year to reach the goal. Looking at what she had to work with, Berthiaume sketched out a rough drawing on the wall. Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students helped with the majority of the painting. Older students worked on using hot glue to glue the caps within the sketch. Berthiaume admits she wasn't sure how it would look once completed, but she was still happy to engage every grade level in the school. Two weeks later, the mural was completed.

"I have to admit, it looks a lot better than I thought it would have," she said. "We're so glad to have it complete. There was a lot of work that went into that. We're so pleased with how it turned out."

The Lawton Constitution

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