DOVER — Elementary school students of every age were excited to show off their latest collaborative effort.

A Vermont Arts Council grant brought Linda Whelihan back to Dover School for the project. She previously taught art at the school and has been involved in other grant-assisted fun there in the past.

"The theme of this is the IB (International Baccalaureate) attributes," Whelihan said, standing in front of the colorful mural. "So kids displaying these attributes are going to be wonderful learners."

Dover School is in the candidacy stage of becoming an IB school with hopes of accreditation. That will require approval from the organization that runs the program focused on global learning.

Space was offered up on a wall in the school's library farthest from Principal Bill Anton's office. Students from every grade participated in its painting, meaning pre-k through sixth grade. A little over two weeks was spent completing the project.

A quote from Harriet Tubman, painted on the desk in front of the wall, says every great dream begins with a dreamer.

"Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world," it said.

Words related to the IB program were painted on the wall with stars attached and included inquirer, open-minded, thinkers, communicators, reflective, balanced and more. Students served as models for profiles of people climbing ladders to reach for those stars


"We painted the profiles and we helped paint the grass and the leaves and some of the trees on there," said Alessia Tallini, a sixth grader.

Fellow sixth grader Carly Gallivan said she enjoyed painting and "watching it come to life."

Third graders Jack Cady and Olivia Chase said they mostly painted the bottom portion of the wall, a section which featured grass. But they also helped put some touches on the trees.

"I liked seeing it come together more and more through the days," said Chase. "And seeing the colors get darker."

The profile of Cady's sister Mary, a first grader, appears on one of the ladders.

The process made students learn a little more about the IB program, according to fourth grader Addison DeVault. She enjoys painting and said she thought the project was fun.

A small booklet of drawings was created and shared with the younger kids, fourth grader Julian Meckle told the Reformer. Several images were later chosen to apply to the wall and they were inspired from students' favorite books.

"My illustration is from 'Sleepy Bears.' He's being a 'risk-taker' because he's swinging from a rope and jumping into a pond," said Meckle. "So we took an IB word and put it into a book that we liked."

Ericka Fletcher, 7, and Kaylynn Betit, 9, help paint a mural at the Dover School’s library on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015.
Ericka Fletcher, 7, and Kaylynn Betit, 9, help paint a mural at the Dover School's library on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015.

This created a way to relate the "big words" to stories familiar to the younger students, Whelihan pointed out.

Meckle said he thought more schools should become IB schools.

"If more schools do it, they become more global and then they learn more stuff about other countries," he said.

Kindergartners, completely new to the concept of the program, assisted with some of the painting including the stars and the flowers. Also, they learned how to make a star.

First graders Grace Arms and Mary Cady said the project required two coats of paint.

"Maybe three," said Arms, who says the word 'caring' sticks out to her as she looks at the wall.

Contact Chris Mays at or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.