It’s the little things that matter most to elementary students. A new book, a fresh paint job, even a star on the wall.  That’s why dozens of volunteers from Chattanooga's Moms for Social Justice spent an entire weekend giving a portable classroom a full makeover.  We were there when Barger Academy 3rd graders got a very pleasant surprise.

Like many older public schools, Barger Academy in Chattanooga has seen better days.  The portable classrooms, in particular, have their share of wear and tear.  Matthew Bradshaw’s 3rd-grade classroom was in dire need of a makeover. Thanks to a connection with the Midtown Chamber of Commerce, the parent group Moms for Social Justice put a plan into action.

For three days, the moms, their families and friends collected donations and made their dream a reality. The Barger project is one of several classroom makeovers they plan to take on this year.

Students accustomed to peeling paint, worn carpet and outdated books are now greeted with improved lighting, new curtains, fresh carpet and a whole new library to spark their imagination.

Bradshaw is a first-year teacher who was making the best of a bad situation.  It inspires him to see his students with a renewed spark for learning.

School officials say they’re grateful for any and all help from the community.  A brighter, cleaner atmosphere gives the students, and teachers new pride in their school. Such renewal can’t always come from tax dollars, so when community friends step in, they play a big role in our future.

The Barger project is one of several classroom makeovers planned by the group for this year. Next up will be in honor of deceased teacher Bethany Schklar at Orchard Knob Elementary School.  She began her career at that school before moving to Normal Park. She died in a car accident in January.