‘Wall of happiness’ offers students chance to reflect on enjoyment, fulfillment

Sophomore Will Cover stands at the Wall of Happiness in the science wing. Photo by Jared Geyer

Sophomore Will Cover stands at the “Wall of Happiness” in the science wing. Photo by Jared Geyer

Jared Geyer

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]n the third week of October, a colorful collaboration of “happiness” began to fill the bland and blank walls of the science hallways. It consists of more than 100 index cards crudely taped onto the walls and evenly spaced.
While the cards themselves are orderly, what is on each card is diverse and colorful. Some cards consist of just simple words such as “music” or “friends,” while other cards are filled with multiple words, lists, and creative and colorful designs that fill the small spaces head to toe in creativity.
In the top left of the display is a large yellow speech bubble, displaying what the cards are all about. “RBHS: What makes you happy?” is printed on the large bubble, and each card is from a separate student expressing what makes them happy.
“We made cards in class that said things like ‘turtles’ and ‘memes,’ and we just posted them up on the wall” said Josh Nichols, a tenth grade student in the fourth period biology class of the teacher that concocted the creation of the wall, “Every kid in class put one up, and it was pretty fun.”
The founder of what she calls “The Wall of Happiness” is Amy McKenzie, a science teacher that occupies the classroom just behind The Wall of Happiness. She had been browsing social media website Pinterest when she found inspiration for the Wall of Happiness.
[quote]“I saw something similar to it [Wall of Happiness] on Pinterest,” McKenzie said, “and I thought ‘what a great idea’.”[/quote] She quickly put things into action, inviting all teachers in the science department to “feel free to join in.” Kids in McKenzie’s classes took 15 minutes of their time in class to each make their own card to contribute to the wall, and other teachers from the science department joined in as well.
The resulting project is an orderly chaos of a display that is not only visually satisfying, but also reflective on the ideologies of the students that occupy the participating classrooms. Some cards show sports teams, video games and places, while other cards show personality traits and school days off as something that makes them happy. A vast array of people are displayed on the wall, and each card is the glimpse into the mind and personality of the person behind the card.
“I decided to make the wall because I felt like it would make my students feel good walking past it,” Mckenzie said. “As a teacher it makes me feel good. It’s a positive thing for both students and faculty. I also wanted for students to spend a few moments of reflection… we often don’t do that enough.”
Students such as Luke Milyo that observed the wall had the same sentiment that Mckenzie wanted to portray.
“I think it’s good insight and a good social experiment into what the high school writer thinks,”  Milyo said when he saw the wall, “since each high schooler takes it more seriously than others, it’s cool to see how different people react to the activity.”
Have you added to the wall? Let us know in the comments below.