Gallup elementary school begins free makeover

Posted at: 04/03/2013 6:30 PM
Updated at: 04/03/2013 6:31 PM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Last fall KOB Eyewitness News 4 showed you a video of a Gallup elementary school that badly needed a new paint job. It was a cause that the local community and viewers got behind.

With your help the school won the national contest for a makeover. This week that makeover began.

That's why 200 gallons of paint means the world to Jefferson Elementary in Gallup.

90 percent of the kids who go to school here live under the poverty line. The yearly painting budget is only $400. But winning the Glidden national contest will mean more than just a fresh coat of paint according to Principal Kimberly Orr.

"It's been kind of a source of pride for the community. It's getting to be more about Gallup pride."

School bookkeeper Kristine Silva says they had to work at it.

"We worked very hard for this- all of us pushed and pushed and pushed- cause we knew if we didn't do it- our school would never be painted. Never ever."

Silva's been the school's counselor for 14 years. She says it's the first time the outside of the school has been painted in all her years. Even the painter Ray Romero finds this job to be special.

"The kids- you- I mean it's a lot of pride helping out the kids, We walked through here all week and they are very happy to have us here."

The kids had no trouble telling what they want to do with the money they won't have to be spent on paint.

"Crayons and scissors. Art supplies. New playground equipment. Computers."

Silva says it's not just a victory for Jefferson.

"It's a victory for our school. It's a victory for the local community right here- the Mossman area and the students that go here. And also for the town. Everybody is behind it."

The Gallup Jefferson Elementary kids are on spring break next week. They are planning a dedication the following week for the entire community to celebrate.