Ever visited a school on a couple of occasions and noticed an individual every time you visit? It would be safe to assume they may be an employee. This is truly the case with Mrs. Veronica Crockford, always present at Lanham ES and always volunteering! Mrs. Crockford volunteers for the entire school. She creates beautiful bulletin boards, show stopping door decorations, banners, signs, and much more; all you have to do is ask. Her most recent work of art is now on display in the school’s library for everyone to enjoy. Recently, I caught up with Mrs. Crockford and here’s what she had to say about her many talents and why she does what she does.
CH: Let’s start with this “paper” masterpiece you have created. What does it represent?
VC: The library piece! The librarian needed something new that would draw the children’s attention to all the great books that are at our school library. I chose an adventurous background to display classic stories by authors like Jules Verne, Herman Melville, Hans Christian Andersen, and L. Frank Baum to entice a student’s curiosity to read.
CH: How long did it take you to complete this project and what did it entail?
VC: I began the concept drawings in the fall at the beginning of the school year and started cutting paper for the background by the beginning of winter break. Only then, did I realize the size and time it would take to complete the project. I spent over 60 hours in the evenings cutting out colored paper that when finished would cover an 8 foot by 30 foot wall.
CH: Wow, that’s very impressive! Were there moments you felt defeated and had to overcome any obstacles?
VC: The biggest obstacle for me was trading a paint brush for an X-ACTO knife and cutting the colors needed to create the mural. Another restriction was limiting the color scheme to the bolts of paper already available at the school which required extra time during the conceptual process. In the end, it created brightness in color and unity to the whole composition.
CH: How do you feel about this piece?
VC: Due to the length of time this project took, I found myself going through a wide range of emotions at different times from determination to work in a new medium at such a large scale and fear of not completing the project in time, to exhilaration of all the pieces coming together and then the final giddy unbelief if the finished product.
CH: What inspires you to give so much of your time to others?
VC: I’m learning the gift of true happiness is giving without the expectation of receiving anything in return. I volunteer at the school because I see teachers that remind me of my 3rd grade teacher who taught me to believe in myself and with hard work and determination, I could achieve anything I put my mind to. She, along with my parents positive work ethic to find the enjoyment in every job, I am an artist today.
CH: I understand you will be PCSing soon. What is your most memorable experience at Shirley Lanham ES (SLES)?
VC: It is difficult to find only one memorable moment at Shirley Lanham because there are so many. Mrs. Sessions gave me my first bulletin board to create. Mrs. Colar made me an instant face-painter for a performance for the school. Mrs. Cleveland gave me the challenge of my first large banner for Black History Month. Ms. Jackson gave me my first taste of what it would be like to teach art at multiple levels. Each teacher’s request no matter how seemingly small has helped me better myself by stepping out of my boundaries and growing with each project and deadline.
CH: What surprises do you have in store for us with face-painting for field day?
VC: The only surprise for face painting for field day is that the girls and I will be able to face paint in the art room instead of outside. Thank you so much Ms. Jackson! Phew…
CH: Lanham Crusaders, big and small, will miss you when you PCS. Any parting words or are we really parting?
VC: Thank you to everyone at the school who took the time out of their day to help me along the way these past four and a half years. Whether it was getting supplies or helping me learn my way around a projector.
CH: Mrs. Crockford, I cannot begin to express the gratitude felt on behalf of the entire faculty, staff, and student body at SLES for all you have done over the years you have volunteered with us. It is an honor to know you. It was my pleasure to have had the opportunity to educate one of your children and you will always be a V.I.P. (Very Important Parent) in our hearts.
Thank you Mrs. Crockford!