SOUDERTON — Along with being part of a chain stretching across the country, Souderton Charter School Collaborative's link in the 10,000 Flowers Project is a tribute to school founder Wendy Ormsby, who died last year.

"We wanted a place for the kids to honor her and make sure our school was nice and colorful and bright," said Sara Rinelli, an elementary teacher at the school and sponsor of the 10,000 Flowers Project at the school.

Students in all the grades at the school, kindergarten through eighth grade, took part in the painting the week of May 17 through 21, she said. Students taking classes virtually this year were invited to come to the school one of the days and join the in-person students in painting, she said.

The 10,000 Flowers Project by Perkasie resident and artist Tim Gibson started in 2018 with a mural in the public parking lot behind the Perkasie Borough office building. The plan is to do a series of murals throughout the country before returning to the Perkasie starting point for the 10,000th and final flower.

In 2019, Gibson traveled down the east coast working with groups of people in several towns to add more links. That was scheduled to continue in 2020 but then was postponed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"This is one of the first ones we've done since Covid, so it's been nice to be able to get back out," Gibson said.

With the SCSC mural, about 1,100 of the flowers have been painted, he said.

"He does a lot of schools," Rinelli said.

"We wanted to partner with him to be a part of that," she said. "We're very big into community and collaboration."

"Schools are always nice to come to because it gets you a couple hundred students out painting. It's a lot nicer to be able to work with that many people over the course of a couple of days," Gibson said.

Another round of mural painting, modified to remain within Covid guidelines, is set to begin in about a month, he said.

"I'm heading out to California to get some schools done there and then work my way back through Texas and Louisiana, South Carolina," Gibson said.

The trip is expected to last about six months. Although it is hard to predict how many new flowers will be painted during that time because he doesn't know yet where the murals will be painted or how much wall space he'll have, Gibson said he hopes to have about 2,000 painted by the end of the year.

"I was debating whether or not it was the right time to go back out," he said. "I think given the state of how it's been going the last few months, it looks like we're on track to getting back to some sense of normalcy soon."

Several of the murals have been done at small businesses, he said. The murals can help with recovery from the pandemic, he said.

"I'm kinda using this tour as a way of getting people to come out in the community and support the small businesses," Gibson said.

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