Volunteers Donate Time to Beautify duPont Middle
It was a sweltering hot Saturday in the Southside neighborhood where duPont Middle School sits. Even with the sun beating down, more than 100 volunteers spent their day sweating for a good cause. They were all there to team up and make improvements to Alfred I. duPont Middle School.
“Today we brought the talent, the intellect, the manpower and the spirit of Fidelity into duPont Middle School,
so when the students return to school, they will be motivated, enthusiastic and ready to learn,” said Sheila Cavanaugh, Senior Vice President of Fidelity Investments.
Cavanaugh flew from the company’s headquarters in Boston to be a part of Transformation Day.
“Every student has the potential to succeed. Yet not every student has the support, environment or the intervention from their mentors to get there. We’re filling that gap,” said Cavanaugh.
The School Transformation Day is part of Fidelity Investments' new national partnership with HandsOn Network to help revitalize the learning environments and support the educational needs of 11 middle schools across the United States.
Dr. Judith Smith is the President and CEO of HandsOn Jacksonville. She says when she was approached about the program she was ecstatic that a local school was selected for the revitalization program.
“My first thoughts were oh yes, this is what we do, this is what we care about, this is how we want to bring partners together from all three sectors of the community, the nonprofit sector, the public sector and the business sector,” said Smith.
Projects completed at duPont Middle School include general refreshing of the
school media center, including the creation of a new college/reading space and a specially commissioned school mural. Chairs were reupholstered for the students. Art tables were sanded, scrubbed and repainted. Speaking of painting, several of the school’s rooms received a fresh coat. Also, mulching and general beautification was done around the art room.
One of the most noticeable changes students saw when they returned to school
was the massive new mural of their school’s mascot, the dragon. For days, a local artist came in and traced the outline of this spectacular new dragon onto the walls leading into the school’s library,
and then brought it to life with color.
“We wanted to come up with a dragon that met the school’s idea of what that sort of fierce, and yet protective, positively, benevolent dragon would look like. So it’s kind of a combination of a storybook dragon and something that sort of has a whimsical look to it. It’s not quite frightening, but something that’s helpful,” said the dragon’s creator David Durrett. He is the owner of the local art group Yes You Canvas. Check out pictures of the dragon mural
At the end of the day, more than 100 volunteers from Fidelity Investments, HandsOn Jacksonville,
and students and teachers spent their day helping to beautify the school. That level of commitment is something duPont Middle School’s Principal says isn’t anything new to her hallways.
“Half of the school’s faculty came today. Faculty and staff, and two custodians who aren’t getting paid. This is a story…what’s happening today is an extraordinary day.
That is what stories and legends are made of, when people partner together to create something seamlessly that nobody could have ever imagined,” said Teresa Mowbray, principal of duPont Middle School.
“I can’t even describe how it makes me feel. I’m shocked and awed by the number of people who are here, and by the depth of concern by Fidelity Investments. They did homework and they knew all about my school. They knew all about why I needed them. I’ve never been the recipient of such care and concern,” said Mowbray.
DuPont Middle School was the only school in Florida chosen to participate in this program.