REELSVILLE -- To teach is to touch a life forever.
"However, I find more often it is my life touched by the students," said Reelsville Elementary third grade teacher Jan Swingley.
It was Swingley's former student J.D. Miller, who was the inspiration behind Reelsville being selected for a makeover through the Indiana State Teachers Association's Outreach to Teach program.
Swingley taught Miller in preschool and watched him grow up to have a passion for teaching. When Miller was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma at the age of 20, he continued his mission to teach.
He told Swingley about the Outreach to Teach program, where more than 200 college students, mostly education majors, visit one Indiana school each year and in one day give a bit of new life to a dreary school.
"It is with thanks to J.D., who lost his battle with cancer the day after Christmas, that Reelsville Elementary School will be having this school makeover on April 17," Swingley said.
The block-brick school building was constructed in 1954 and used for first through 12th grades until South Putnam consolidated in 1969, making it an elementary school for nearly 300 students.
Since much of the building has remained the same, a makeover is welcome.
Storage space for teacher's classroom material is virtually non-existent; paint in the original gymnasium is peeling; and the teacher's lounge is still in the 50s.
"The chalkboards are so pocked the kids think I'm dotting my 'P's and 'Q's," said Swingley.
The 200 volunteers will concentrate on the teacher's lounge and gymnasium for its one-day project. A majority of the work will be funded through the program.
On a recommendation from Superintendent Bruce Bernhardt, South Putnam School Board members voted to donate an additional $1,000 from its capital projects fund toward the cause.
"It sounds like a great project," said board president Michael Rissler following the unanimous vote Monday night.
In addition, Reelsville teachers and staff will serve lunch to the volunteers at the Reelsville Fire Department, which donated its facility.
"It's quite an honor to be chosen," said Reelsville principal Teresa Vapor.