Highland News Leader

Bathroom graffiti earns support of school officials through its inspirational messages

Jessie Blackburn, left, and Rebecca Grimm, right, stand next to the freshly decorated bathroom stalls in the girls locker room at Highland Middle School. The women donated the permanent vinyl designs through there business Sister One & Three Designs to help HMS students have an uplifting start to the school year. The sisters will decorate the boys locker room later this fall.
Jessie Blackburn, left, and Rebecca Grimm, right, stand next to the freshly decorated bathroom stalls in the girls locker room at Highland Middle School. The women donated the permanent vinyl designs through there business Sister One & Three Designs to help HMS students have an uplifting start to the school year. The sisters will decorate the boys locker room later this fall.

A locker room can be an intimidating place for a middle school student, but two businesswomen have worked to make the physical education experience at Highland Middle School just a bit more colorful.

Jessie Blackburn and Rebecca Grimm recently launched a special giveaway for one school in either Madison or Montgomery counties.

Together the sisters own a business named Sister One & Three Designs. The shop is an online boutique that offers a variety of products and personalized gifts made with permanent vinyl work.

As they were skimming through social media, the sisters came upon a post in which parents graffitied the stalls of a fifth-grade bathroom with inspiring messages shortly after the school shooting in Florida. Grimm and Blackburn said they instantly fell in love with the idea.

“It was one of those things that we just filed away for later,” Grimm said.

As the end of summer vacation approached, the sisters began working on their back-to-school gear and the idea resurfaced.

“We thought ‘Hey this would be a really cool thing to offer,’ ” Grimm said.

So the women took to Facebook. They said they would decorate a total of 15 stalls in the first middle school to obtain administrator approval.

“Essentially it was a race against time,” Grimm said.

Hillsboro Junior High School claimed the prize. However, a message from Jody Gaffner, a physical education teacher at HMS, would sway them to tackle an additional school.

Gaffner said that she and her principal believed the services could make a difference at HMS. But, she wanted to take a different angle on their idea.

Instead of decorating various stalls throughout the school, Gaffner asked if they would decorate the locker rooms. She relayed that there are 650 students at Highland Middle School and every single one of them takes P.E.

“So that’s 650 students whose lives are impacted by these messages,” Gaffner said.

In addition to reaching every single student at the middle school, Gaffner said that she believed the project would help boost the self-esteem of students at one of the most vulnerable times of their lives.

“We were just so touched by her message to us,” Grimm said.

So the sisters went to work.

They allowed Gaffner to choose each of the messages for the four-stalled restroom. Now each door holds its own message from “Good Vibes,” to ‘In a world where you can be anything be kind.” Each inspirational quote is surrounded by artfully designed sunflowers, hearts, polka dots, and feathers to help each section have its own flare.

As the sisters arranged the messages on the doors, a variety of girls sports teams that were practicing at the school were able to get a sneak peek. Through the high-pitched squeals of delight and excited reactions, Grimm said they were able to experience firsthand how their messages will impact girls at the start of the school year.

“It was so touching because that is exactly why we are doing this,” Grimm said.

Grimm and Blackburn plan to come back later this fall to decorate the boys locker room. Liz Weder, the principal at HMS, said the school is delighted with the generosity that Sister One & Three Designs has shown at the school.

“Their commitment to educating students with positive messages through their beautiful designs are an inspiration to anyone who graces our locker rooms. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” Weder said.

Grimm and Blackburn said that they are providing this service for any other interested schools. However, Grimm relayed they are booked until the end of the year. Any interested parties can contact the business by email at sisteroneandthree@gmail.com for individualized quotes and scheduling, or visit the business Facebook page for more information.

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