Five floors. Hidden stairwells. Secret offices. Endless hallways. Built in the early twentieth century for a student body well over a thousand, PS 73 is a seemingly overwhelming challenge for even the most seasoned beautification day volunteer.
Unless you are talking about the 50 amazing volunteers from Gannett, supercharged with the will to give back and a full Saturday to spare. On October 26, Make a Difference Day, Gannett’s NYC office mobilized a team to paint and restore murals; repaint the school’s entryway, the CFK office, and a set of swinging doors; clean trash out of the music room; and clear and reorganize two closets, each as big as small apartments.
A new mural in the works
“To have people like you who are willing to come in from the outside…to really help us and support us, you get emotional to see all of you guys here doing all these things—it’s wonderful,” said Ms. Perez, a teacher at P.S. 73.
The new mural on the fifth floor brought beloved characters from children’s books and stories to life—Nemo, Horton the elephant, Ariel the Little Mermaid, Olivia the Pig, Thing 1 and Thing 2—against a wonderland backdrop of castles and forest and sea.
Dr. Suess’s Thing 1 and Thing 2 in progress
Mural restoration brought vibrant color back into other important pieces and touched up scratches everywhere, including Clifford’s nose. One team transformed the school’s vestibule with bright blue and yellow paint.
A young restorer
“Just anticipating our children coming back on Monday into the school—I cannot wait to see their faces. In simple terms: Thank you for beautifying our school, not just for our children, but also for our community,” said Assistant Principal Abreu.
Our closet ninjas unpacked, sorted, organized and repacked a closet in such a short amount of time we had to find them another closet to attack.
Piles and piles and piles of supplies
Other volunteers headed to the CFK office to rehab dreary walls, and a family of four took on a gray set of swinging doors, turning them into a cheery aqua that Principal Vivian Bueno now wants to use throughout the school.
The Safran family takes on a set of double doors
“All the research that’s out there says that the principal cannot do it alone. The teachers cannot do it alone,” Principal Bueno told the volunteers at lunch. “This is why we welcome Change for Kids, because we know that having a partnership in this building is going to benefit the children.”
Many thanks to Gannett for everything they did on October 26 for P.S.73! Check out more photos from throughout the day here. And here are two photos of the new mural you should go see in person at P.S. 73!