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Roosevelt Elementary’s courtyard mural ‘a reflection of literacy’

When students return to Roosevelt Elementary School in West Palm Beach, there’ll be a big surprise waiting for them in their courtyard.

Like secret agents descending on a location, volunteers, armed with paint rollers and brushes were on a mission to paint a mural to inspire literacy and the children’s imagination.

“We want our kids to be surprised at the open house on August 14th, that’s when we’ll unveil it,” said Dr. Glenda N. Garret, principal. “This mural reflects literacy. Through building it we’re emphasizing the importance of where it can take you.”

The mural is a part of a continuing effort of employees at Engineered Tax Services in West Palm Beach, along with their CEO Julio Gonzales and his wife Leslie to do something to give back to the community.

In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, Gonzales said everyone at the company felt compelled to do something.

“I wanted to fund a project,” said Gonzales. “Six months ago we decided as a company to adopt a school.”

Along with donating supplies, the company donates their time. They started a literacy program, the Roosevelt Rockets Reading Buddies where employees go to the school and read to the kids.

“We thought this would be a nice way to encourage students, to get their creative juices flowing in terms of reading,” he said.

Gonzales hopes by doing this other companies will jump on the bandwagon.

The project also called the veteran volunteers to action. The frat brothers of the West Palm Beach chapter of Omega Psi Phi have been staples at Roosevelt for five years.

“We like to empower youth and uplift our community,” said Mitch Dasher II, 69 of West Palm Beach, and president of the chapter. “To do that we mentor and tutor children.”

The group also awards scholarships to area high school graduates.

Watching the flurry of activity is artist Eduardo Mendieta, 40 of West Palm Beach, who painted the mural’s outline. He holds back watching the troop of volunteers fill it all in.

“I like to volunteer when I can,” said Mendieta. “Especially when it’s something I like to do, it’s a plus.”

The actual mural, painted in yellows, browns, oranges and deep rust shows a young child with her nose in a book, her big eyes engaged in the story.

Photo by Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post.

Photo by Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post.

“It’s a little girl reading a book,” said Mendieta. “and her imagination is going off in her head.”

Over her head, a swirl of images. One of these is a rocket ship intentionally placed by the artist.

“It’s for the Roosevelt rockets,” he said.

The crew continues rolling out paint with plenty covering hands and cheeks. They stand on ladders diligently filling in the design like kids coloring a giant coloring book.

So what if these aspiring artists paint outside the lines?

Mendieta smiled, “I’m coming back to touch it up.”

Mississippi Blues – Ben Prestage



photo by <a href=\”https://www.flickr.com/photos/soozwhite/3075379477/\”>Queen of the Universe</a> via <a href=\”http://photopin.com\”>photopin</a> <a href=\”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/\”>cc</a>

The Rock Doctors – A Cure for What Ails You

December 1, 2005 on 1:31 pm | In Local and New Artists, The Local Buzz | No Comments

Those in desperate need of a cure for the ordinary weekend have a remedy. Ailing spirits who could use a good dose of fun can be healed with a prescription written by the Rock Doctors.

Although they don’t make house calls, an appointment isn’t necessary. They can be found at their office – Charlie’s Bar and Grill in Stuart, where the dance floor was crowded with people injected with an infectious enthusiasm for their music on a stormy Saturday night.

It may have been thundering outside, but the nasty weather was obscured by rhythmic drums, heavy bass and raucous guitars inside, as the audience was treated to the Doctor’s own homegrown rock-n-roll style. The spirited group covered everything from AC/DC to ZZ Top.

The four-man band is comprised of a group of regular working guys who have learned how to balance out their lives by performing. This has given them a much-needed creative outlet.

“I’m an IT guy all day long, and at night I’m studying real estate. I’ve got to be somebody else for awhile, that’s the real me,” said lead guitarist Clark Rodriguez about performing.

Continue reading The Rock Doctors – A Cure for What Ails You…

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