Kathleen Shirley, the student council advisor, spent the last three weeks completing a project that was started with her students. Stencils of book titles had been purchased and were awaiting to be installed on all 41 stair risers, starting at the gym and continuing throughout the campus to the primary wing.

While schools across the state are closed, a project of passion was not deterred by COVID-19 at Dunsmuir Elementary School.

Kathleen Shirley, the student council advisor, spent the last three weeks completing a project that was started with her students. Stencils of book titles had been purchased and were awaiting to be installed on all 41 stair risers, starting at the gym and continuing throughout the campus to the primary wing.

While the student council members were able to measure the stairs and calculate what needed to be ordered, their work ended when the school closure hit suddenly in mid March.

However, Shirley was not content with sitting at home. She took on several projects including moving all the school’s sets of novels from one room to another and setting up her own Google Classroom for students to access engaging environmental sites. This would enable her to continue work with The Climate Action Projects Summit she had been participating in through the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

While all these projects came from Shirley’s passions, the stairs were definitely the most challenging, she said.

“As the stencils were being applied to cold, uneven concrete stairs, I realized this was going to be a challenging endeavor.”

Her project became a challenge of time, temperature, and patience. As usual, thoughtfulness, and helpful people came into play, said DES principal Susan Keeler.

“As a group we processed the best way to tackle the problem. And, sure enough, we prevailed!” Shirley said.

“While I am so grateful for all of Kathleen’s efforts, I am not at all surprised,” said Keeler. “She is a person of action. Nothing she puts her mind to goes unfinished. I am so looking forward to seeing our students walking up and down these beautiful stairs. It can’t happen soon enough!”