Students at ACG Strathallan have taken on the task of rejuvenating their school toilets to make them more welcoming for students feeling sad or down.
Led by student media liaison Kelda Elborough, Year 13, senior students Taijel Hari, Trina Elborough and Emma Turner gave up their school holidays to sugar soap walls, design butterfly and flower decals and paint the spaces. A message about wellbeing and helpline numbers finished the project.
Deputy Principal Robyn Pryor said the project was based on a similar undertaking she had read about in Australian schools, where research showed a connection between the provision of clean, pleasant and safe toilet facilities and children’s short and long-term physical and mental health and learning outcomes.
“The school toilets become a place of refuge for some students – it is often the place students go to when they are upset,” Mrs Pryor explained. “We thought we could make our school toilets a more welcoming place for students who might be feeling a bit sad or lonely. By putting cheerful images and motivational messages on the walls they might start to feel a little better about themselves or their situation.”
The team came up with the colour scheme, designs and quotations ‘Happiness grows from within’ and ‘Be your own kind of beautiful’.
“Many students have come up to me with positive reviews; just a splash of colour makes such a difference to elevating the mood of the room,” Kelda said. “The bathroom no longer feels so boring and sterile and is now a place where there is a significant feeling of wellbeing.”
Kelda said the project has been met with incredibly positive feedback, with the boys asking if their toilets will now be done.
“Of course, that’s next!” she says.