The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


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TJ Give rock painting marks first Jefferson rock garden

Tori Isidro
Freshman Maya John cleans her paintbrush in water during TJ Give’s first ever kindness rock painting event. “Some that used to happen around a lot of Virginia was people painting kind and wholesome messages on rocks and the road,” Lina Raymond said. “I also remember that when I graduated sixth grade in elementary school, they had us all paint rocks and leave them in the front of the school. A lot of them are still there. It was a really nice touch and felt like we were leaving a little part of ourselves.”

On Jan. 31, service club Get Involved through Volunteer Experience (TJ Give) hosted rock painting for students and started Jefferson’s very own rock garden. After the particularly rigorous week of midterm and final exams, the officers of TJ Givewanted to provide an opportunity for students to unwind.

“We decided to focus on mental health for the end of the first semester, especially after the midterms,” senior president Nidhi Varada said. “We thought that a fun way to destress would be to paint rocks and put them out in our garden to show our school.”

Making a rock garden is an activity commonly done at other schools, especially when students are younger, sparking a sense of nostalgia for some.

“I wanted to do this because there was a small rock garden at my old elementary school,” senior secretary Sam Singiresu said. “The fifth graders that were graduating put kind messages on them to the other kids before they went to middle school, and I thought ‘Well, there’s a lot of stress [at Jefferson], why don’t we do the same thing?’”

Leaving a personal touch on her elementary school before she graduated touched junior service project manager Lina Raymond.

“When I graduated sixth grade for elementary school, they had us all paint rocks and leave them in the front of the school, and I think a lot of them are still there,” Raymond said. “I thought that was a really nice touch, too. It kind of felt like we were leaving a little part of ourselves at the school. We thought that would be a cool project to do at [Jefferson].”

For a lot of people, this was a great opportunity to be creative and have fun with their friends.

“Since [Jefferson] is super focused on math and science, you can’t really get creative on a daily basis in most classes,” Raymond said. “If you look at some of the rocks, they’re super cute and creative. There was a person that saw a rock and thought it looked like an alien, so they made a little alien face.”

Aside from this, TJ Give completed various other service projects including teaching senior citizens how to use various technologies and working with nonprofits to benefit their local community.

“We’ve also worked with a nonprofit organization called Bright Beginnings located in D.C. to help stabilize the education of some kids that are going through housing instability, or constantly moving,” Varada said. “The main thing is that we focus on what the club members think are important, whether it’s a long-term internship, a Valentine’s Day project, or a bus driver appreciation project.”

However, before Jefferson can impact the outside world, Singriesu believes that its students must be mentally healthy.

“[The rock garden] might not be a grand thing yet,” Singriesu said, “but it serves as a colorful reminder to everyone that someone’s going through the same situation as you. We’re all in this together and we’re gonna make it out successfully.”

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    ben shapiroFeb 12, 2024 at 6:14 pm

    maya john’s a freshman lol. cool article though