LAKE PLACID - Hundreds of paper plates with daubs of gloss enamel paint served as the palettes for hundreds to make a lasting memory about Lake Country Elementary School.
The Highlands County School District's southern-most school is celebrating its 25th anniversary by hosting a decorative tile project with its current and former students and staff members.
With a $5 donation participants decorated a 4-inch square tile that will be placed along the hallways of the school as a "special tribute to 25 years of growing leaders ... one child at a time."
All day Friday students filed into a classroom set up for the tile painting project.
Second-grader Yailyn Becerra caught on quickly and offered encouragement for her fellow students as they worked to create small scenes, shapes and lettering on the tiles.
"No, it's not hard," she said. "Just do it. You can draw it with a pencil first"
She also repeated the primary tip the teachers told the students when changing paint colors.
"You have to wet it and dry it with a paper towel really good," Becerra said of the paint brush.
Becerra showed a detailed colored drawing she made, which she was using as the plan for her tile's design.
"I did this by myself and I didn't even let my momma see it because I wanted it to be a surprise," she said.
But she did show it to her mother, who advised her to paint the tile the same way as the drawing, Bacerra said.
While Becerra worked on her tile, across the room three familiar former faces from Lake Country Elementary worked on their own tiles - former principals Majel Bowerman, Judy Dyer and former reading coach Kathy Robinson.
Bowerman said she was just playing around with her tile, but pointed out that the kids had made some "darling ones."
Second-grader Brooke Walker drew three stick figures named "Brooke," "Haley" and "Jenna" on her tile.
Brooke said Haley was her best friend.
Interestingly, Jenna was someone related to Brooke who was very close by.
"That's my twin sister, right there," Brooke said as she point to the second student seated to her right.
Assistant Principal Erica Ashley took a seat to help a second-grader print "friend" on her tile.
The administrator practiced making letters with a small paint bottle.
"We are going to get this so pretty," Ashley said. "I am going to give you my best handwriting ever."
She asked the student to spell "friend" as she painted the letters on the tile.
About 75 community members painted tiles Thursday after school.
Ashley said it was a wonderful turnout. Many former students came back and made some "really special tiles and they talked about their special memories."
"Some painted tiles with tents on them from our third-grade camp out," she said. "Some had bowling pins from our pin bombardment."
Pin bombardment is a game that kids love, Ashley noted.
She estimates that about 500 to 600 tiles have been sold.
The tiles were donated by Eldridge's Design Center in Sebring.
Due to the large number of tiles, two different rectangularly displays will be created with them on both sides of the school's media center.
The displays will be completed before May, Ashley said.
Fifth-grade teacher Liz Ridgeway said the proceeds from the tile sales will go into the school's beautification fund.
"We have some murals going up on the wall; we have some plants that are being planted and things like that," she said.