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December 22, 2002

Eighth-graders tackle on-campus housework

From: Jackson Clarion Ledger, MS - 22 Dec 2002

By Roishina Clay

When some of the Mississippi School for the Deaf's eighth-graders get a little older, they'll know a thing or two about having a house.

Not just owning one, but decorating it, too.

Under the direction of teacher Iris Stuart and her family and consumer science class, the students have been jazzing up the school's superintendent's on-campus house.

In a nine-week project, the students painted walls and cabinets, learned about budgeting and mortgage payments, and took a trip to Miskelly's Furniture in Rankin County for decorating ideas.

They've also helped build a home through Habitat for Humanity.

"Some day, they will have a place to dwell of their own, and I want them to know how to decorate, know what they can afford and have a definite life skill," Stuart said.

Students have painted Superintendent John Jun's kitchen a cream color with a grapevine mural painted along the wall in the breakfast room. They are decorating in a country casual style with green, beige and cranberry, Stuart said.

Students Carmen Campbell and Brandi Callahan worked on the mural.

"It was real fun, and we came up with the design from the Internet," said 15-year-old Callahan, who's interested in becoming a fashion designer.

Many students, without previous painting skills, worked on the project every day for about 55 minutes.

First-time painter Laurie Sanders said the kitchen was a challenge, but a lot of fun.

"I see how I can decorate and make things pretty and beautiful," the 15-year-old said.

Brent Doiron of Oxford said he learned more than picking up a paint brush.

"Perseverance," he said. "I know not to give up."

Stuart commends the students because they exhibited dedication and perseverance.

"I'm very proud of them, and the students can look back one day and say they had a hand in this," she said.

Sherry McAlilly, an interior designer, helped the students with their techniques.

"I loved working with the students," she said.

The students will continue the project after the Christmas break.

They will find table mats, seat cushions and curtains, and work on sewing techniques.

They are hoping to be finished by late February or early March.

At that time, an open house will be scheduled.

Copyright © 2001, The Clarion-Ledger.