Some of the rocks painted by Van Wert elementary students. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)
Some of the rocks painted by Van Wert elementary students. (DHI Media/Jim Langham)

By JIM LANGHAM

DHI Media Staff Writer

jlangham@timesbulletin.com

A stream of colorful rocks, giving the appearance of a flowing stream from the student entrance to Van Wert Elementary School, represents the first five grades that were attending the school at the end of last year’s school year.

The rocks, each individually designed by students in grades one through five, represent that individual student’s artistic perception of what he or she wanted placed in the stream representing their heart’s artistic engagement.

Elementary principal Justin Krogman said that the idea is to maintain that stream of memories for five years and then allow the next five grades at that time fill it with their personal designs.

“That means that this year’s first graders will be a part of the next designed stream in five years, which will include the first five grades of that time,” said Krogman.

“The head custodian had seen the post of another school district that had done this,” continued Krogman. “The designs are on river rock. Every child designed his/her own rock.”

Krogman said that the Cougar Committee connected with Stoneco in Convoy which donated the rocks.

“The idea was to combine art and creativity on the part of the students to free themselves and make the world a better place,” said Krogman.

Krogman said that once the stream was completed, students would walk up and look at it.

“They also stood part way back. They realized that the rocks represented other students and they showed almost a sacredness and respect for it,” said Krogman.

“We wanted the project to represent a place where students could have a sense of connection to the building,” continued Krogman. “The teachers did a fantastic job of laying out the purpose for it.”

Krogman said it is hoped that the project will give kids a sense of ownership to the building, to the teachers, to the staff, to other students and the community.

In addition, the teachers worked with the librarian to read books to the students that will help define the spirit of the project.

“The entire project had a team aspect to it. We hope that the kids felt the importance of that from the blending of the rocks to everyone working together,” said Krogman. “We want all of the children to feel like they are unique but also connected to the whole. We appreciate the support of the community and all that worked together to make this possible.”