By Mike Giles
The Meridian Star
Walk through the front door of the West Lauderdale Elementary School and step into the beautiful Mississippi outdoors. For there on the transformed walls you have a veritable museum of art complete with outdoors landscapes, with people enjoying various outdoor pursuits, children playing outside and wild Mississippi. Kindergarten teacher Amy Ethridge loves her children and continually thinks outside the box. Ethridge’s talents are many and her passion is displayed through her artistic and inspirational wall murals which inspire and motivate youngsters.
“The kids really loved the animals and the Mississippi Wall introduces them to the outdoors and all types of birds, animals, and fish as well as elements of art,” said Ethridge. “They can find the color and the lines on the pictures and not just on paper.”
Hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, bird watching and photography are just a few things that many families participate in, but many children aren’t exposed to the outdoors. Ethridge’s artistic flair and her “Mississippi Wall” aims to enlighten those children and light a spark through her “Art of the Outdoors” exhibit.
The wall mural depicts a typical Mississippi outdoors scene complete with a lake, teeming with fish and game all around. A largemouth bass leaps from the water and into the imagination of young and old anglers alike. Deer, turkey, eagles and all manner of other game are seen around the lake in their natural setting.
And there’s an angler on the secluded dock, dreaming of catching the big one, as we all want to do.
“I wanted to keep our children involved in the outdoors and learn about things relevant to Mississippi,” Ethridge said. “We talk about our Mississippi symbols in the classroom and I thought this was a good opportunity to show all those symbols. We could go out there and talk about the largemouth bass and whitetail deer, our state flag and other symbols and discuss many of the beautiful plants, trees and animals that roam here too.”
Ethridge was inspired to paint murals by her mother, Dottie Armstrong, of Newton. Her artistic flair was groomed and nurtured by her mother as they painted murals around Newton during her high school years.
“It’s therapy for me, I just love to paint and I like to paint big, it’s just so relaxing,” she said. As a youngster in Newton, Ethridge participated in shooting sports and actually won her school shooting contest and competed in district competition. But her love of the outdoors didn’t end there, it was just beginning and the talent passed on to her from her parents just bloomed forth.
After teaching 21 years at WL Elementary Ethridge still displays a passion for her classroom children as well as her own family and kids, Smokey, Colby and husband Dane.
Amy Ethridge inspires people of all ages through her daily messages of inspiration and passion for life. You can check out her inspirational messages and follow her on Facebook each morning. Her Mississippi wall brings the outdoors inside and motivates children to think outside the traditional classroom setting.
This talented young teacher dreams of making things better and combines her many talents along with her artistic ability to motivate youngsters to dream of bigger things. She wants children to imagine the possibilities and make their dreams become a reality.
While many people sit on the sidelines and complain, or just go through their daily routines, Amy Ethridge lives life with passion while loving her family, friends, and students and inspires them to reach for the stars. Her “Mississippi Outdoors Wall” is not only beautiful, but inspiring.
Check out Ethridge’s inspirational messages in her eBooks, Amyisms 2011 and 2012, by Googling Bookstore at TheBookPatch.com