How Social Media Created a Community

The Learning Takes Flight Mural and Waterfall Project is complete.

You are cordially invited to come see the new mural and waterfall that graces the entrance to Haile Middle School. Once there, Take a few minutes to read the inspirational words inscribed by the students on leaves crafted from clay and relax on the benches next to the soothing waterfall.   , which was a mural project that special needs students helped create, is now complete. The students who participated in each phase of the project are thrilled with their work. 

Without spreading the word on Facebook and Twitter, this project may not have happened. We are seeing the power of social media. Friends on Facebook spread the word which resulted in people from Cincinnati and even London sending in money in response to a request for $10 contributions.

Many financial supporters stepped forward to make this project happen. " From $6 all the way up to $850, individuals, organizations and businesses donated funds to help us meet our budget," says Lisa Burns of Backyard Getaway.  

Using their math skills, 90 students figured out how to enlarge a drawing from a regular size piece of paper to a 33 foot long and 10 foot high mural.  They also figured out how much clay was needed for each student to create two clay leaves to adorn the mural.  They used their science classes to discover how to dig a stream and build a waterfall and have the flow of water work properly.

Students were also asked to write their dreams and aspirations in one or two words on the leaves they created.  Simple words such as "trust", "faith", and "love" appear in several locations as well as "fireman" and "family" yet the implications of their sentiments is truly inspirational.

The project has been accepted and registered as a Florida natural habitat which will provide years of learning opportunities for the students at Haile.

Businesses and organizations donated supplies for the project.  However, the project could not have been done without the significant support of:  Atlantic Water Gardens, Ruck Brothers , Backyard Getaway, the Manatee Community Foundation, the Parent Teacher Association of Haile Middle School, and Yea Arts.  

Catherine Seress May 10, 2011 at 10:50 AM
How fantastic!
Barbara Powell Harris May 10, 2011 at 08:22 PM
Very inspirational! A hands on approach to learning should be the norm rather than the exception. Using social media to bring the project to fruition is a great lesson in present day community and the power of building a community. The article did a great job of identifying the science and math lessons learned, but the approach was very wholistic with ample opportunities for social studies and language arts learning.


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