What started as an online trend is now a local reality.
Seniors at Swansboro High School were offered the chance to paint the school’s parking spots.The project was offered at the school as a way to build school spirit and raise money for senior events, Principal Chris Andre said.
When Northside High School principal Maria Johnson saw pictures of the spots on Facebook, she thought it would be a great thing to bring to her school.
“It was last minute,” she said. “I thought it was a really cool idea.”
As it turned out, the seniors really enjoyed the project and have become protective of their spots.
“Nobody wants anyone (else) parking on their spots,” Andre said, laughing. “They’re very proud of their spots.”
Swansboro senior, Casey Carroll agreed, commenting on the black tire tread marks already on her parking spot.
“There’s not a lot seniors get as perks. It makes people happier by having something of their own in high school,” Casey said. Together with her mom, Casey painted an image of a palm tree, along with her monogram. Her reasoning for her design was that she likes palm trees and “it’s kind of an easy thing to draw.”
At least one took the project to a higher level: That student paid an artist to paint the spot, Casey added.
Many students did like Casey and turned the project into a family affair. A lot of moms and daughters showed up to paint together, Andre said.
For Northside senior Heaven Lloyd, 17, the project was something she did with her grandfather.
“I was looking on Pinterest and there were so many ideas,” she said, adding that she originally wanted to do a Harry Potter theme. She decided to paint her first initial with glitter, along with flowers, and blue stripes — something she said wouldn’t have looked nearly as good without her grandfather’s help.
At Swansboro, the option to paint parking spots was only offered to seniors. The cost was the $25 fee required for a parking permit plus an additional $25 to paint a spot. From all the seniors who participated, $900 has been raised from the parking lot project alone. The money will go toward Project Graduation, where seniors at Swansboro are locked in the night of graduation to keep them out of trouble, Andre said.
Typically the school raises about $30,000 for Project Graduation, whether it’s through cookie dough sales or other fundraisers.
For the project, school administrators set a process in motion that included the submission of paid fees, a signed painted parking space contract and a copy of the design they planned to use. The designs had guidelines, like no offensive language, no gang-style tagging, no double meanings and no names but the student’s own. There were also restrictions on the type of paint that could be used: only water based exterior latex — no spray or reflective paint.
Like Swansboro, the option to paint parking spots was only offered to seniors at Northside and they had to submit their design to Johnson. Since the price of parking tickets increased this year from $10 to $25, Johnson said she didn’t have the heart to ask a large fee for seniors to paint their parking spaces. Instead, students paid a $5 fee that went directly into the senior account to be used for things like prom or gifts to the school upon graduation.
Nost of the seniors at Swansboro showed up between the hours of 7:30 and 11:30 a.m. on Aug. 16 to paint their spots. Otherwise the spots had to be done before school started on Aug. 29.
Many of the designs painted at Swansboro were nautically themed and included palm trees, beaches and anchors. Others included monograms, Lily Pulitzer prints and even emojis.
Swansboro graduating seniors are expected to paint over their parking spaces with black paint by May 31 or expect a $25 fine so that next year’s seniors can carry on the new tradition. Northside seniors are also expected to paint over their parking spaces for next year’s upcoming seniors.
Andre said the staff has learned a lot about the process by watching the senior class of 2017 and through that they plan to adjust the process for the following class accordingly.
To check out the parking spots painted by Swansboro’s senior class of 2017, visit their Facebook page at Facebook.com/ SwansboroPirate.