Paul Wervey, left, and
Lou Boehmke work on a bench designed to wrap around
a tree at Butler Middle School on Wednesday.
WAUKESHA - When Waukesha students return
to school in two weeks, they may notice a new mural or
inspirational quote on the wall, colorful foliage out
front and the fresh sawdust on some recently built
wooden tables and benches.
The new additions are the product of several
hundred volunteers’ efforts to spruce up four Waukesha School
District schools in time for students’ arrival Sept. 1.
Banting Elementary, Butler Middle, Waukesha South
High and Horning Middle schools were buzzing with activity
Wednesday as GE Healthcare employees spent the day painting,
cleaning, landscaping and organizing classrooms.
More than little touch-ups here and there, the
projects seem to grow in their scope and complexity each year,
Superintendent Todd Gray said.
GE Healthcare employee
Jason Heckendorf paints a quotation on the wall in
the QUEST classroom at Butler Middle School on
“It’s just been a wonderful gift to the
district,” Gray said. “We always have schools fighting
over who gets GE for GE Day. What they do is extremely
impressive - what they can get done in a single day.
Every year, it amazes me the projects that they come up
with and are able to get done.”
Nearly 2,500 volunteers from GE dispersed
themselves among 21 different schools in Milwaukee and Waukesha
to refresh the facilities for the upcoming school year. Now in
its 21st year in southeastern Wisconsin, the community service
day is among GE’s largest single-day volunteer events worldwide.
Inside Banting, volunteers throughout the school
were painting murals of the world’s continents, including a
large one that reads: “Embracing diversity and preparing
students for a global society.”
Banting Principal Mary Garcia-Velez said the
colorful murals are designed to reflect the school’s welcoming
and diverse environment.
Rebecca Shelton and
Christen Deans paint a quotation from Abraham
Lincoln on the wall of the QUEST classroom in Butler
Middle School on Wednesday.
With murals being a popular request from
participating schools, at least one was scheduled to be
painted at each campus. A few of them were created
freehand by GE Healthcare’s global design team.
Outside Banting, workers built a new garden that
will be used as an outdoor learning space for classes.
A group of GE volunteers who were refurbishing
tables in Banting’s art room enjoyed envisioning students
returning to school with all the new improvements. Senior Client
Services Engineering Manager Monte Raymond said he hopes the
group’s volunteering efforts will plant a seed among the young
students about the importance of lending a hand in their
Christen Deans paints a
quotation from Abraham Lincoln on the wall of the
QUEST classroom in Butler Middle School on
“With education, anyone can pitch in to
help out and make a difference,” he said. “It’s a small
token of giving back to the community.”
At Butler Middle School, workers in the the
multi-age QUEST personalized learning space painted
inspirational quotes, including Abraham Lincoln’s “You cannot
escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today,” on
GE employees Tammy Stone and Kristin Casey
partnered to paint a mural of QUEST’s emblem on the wall. Both
of them have participated in many of GE’s community service days
over the years.
“It’s a good opportunity to give back to the
community and spend some time together as a team,” Casey said.
“Not to mention we can use some of the skills
that we don’t usually get to do in our regular jobs,” Stone