It isn’t easy for teachers to come up with new project ideas that are both educational and fun. But Tracy Bugg, librarian at Virden Junior High, pulled it off with her painted rocks project.
“I saw it on the news, and so when I was coming up with ideas for the enrichment program, we decided to go with random acts of kindness…”
Bugg marvels at how enthusiastically the students embraced it. “They each did their own unique thing, some put words and quotes on them to brighten someone else’s day. And they soon came to realize that they could do something nice without ever being acknowledged for doing it.”
Some of the messages on her students’ rocks included: Believe in yourself, great days are coming, choose kind, and yllautneve neppah sgniht doog – Reign Spring’s backwards version of “good things happen eventually”.
VJH student Emily Flannery, who free-handed a Minion on one of her rocks, said, “I love drawing and painting even though I suck!... I learned you can share kindness in any way, even if it’s on a rock.”
The point behind the painted rocks phenomenon, active across Canada, is to invite the unknown finders to enjoy the message and then either keep the rock or re-hide it for the next person.
In this area, it took off several years ago with the launch of Westman Rocks, which is still going strong.
In November 2017, it prompted Virden sisters Libby and Leila Verran to paint rocks with Remembrance Day symbols – poppies, crosses – and leave them at the cenotaph in Victoria Park, as told in an Empire-Advance article at the time.