Students team up to bring Wisdom Corridor to Shaler Area


A portion of the final project, which is displayed outside of room 214 in the high school.

As you walk through the hallways of the high school, you will see art projects, posters, murals, and now, a wisdom wall displayed outside of room 214. Fifth and sixth grade students and senior students interviewed each other to spread wisdom and knowledge. The project includes monochromatic hand-drawn faces and accompanying quotes from both parties involved over a rainbow backdrop. 

“What I like about the wall is that you look at it and some of the messages are super philosophical, and then some of them are just saying to be nice. I hope anyone can look at the wall and connect with at least one of the things on there and have a better day because of it,” GATE teacher Mrs. Kate Elder said. 

While most quotes that people think about come from celebrities, larger-than-life figures, or works of fiction, these are from everyday people who show that you don’t have to be famous or even grown up to be inspiring.

This “wisdom group,” headed by Mrs. Elder, was assisted by Mrs. Christina Palladino, Ms. Heather Oros, and Mr. Michael Penn. The idea came from Mrs. Palladino after Mrs. Lisa Anderson, an aide at our high school, told her about the project at other schools.

Avonworth High School started the first wisdom corridor in the area, which was inspired by Avonworth Primary teacher Maureen Frew and her #BeTheKindKid movement. The movement aims to encourage children to make a change in the world through crafts and positivity, often combining the two. Mrs. Palladino then began looking back at previous projects in the GATE program and in Shaler Area that consisted of younger and older students working together, and the positive feedback they received.  

It was great to be a part of it. My favorite part of the project was being able to mentor and just be a friend for some of the younger students.

— Natalie Ondo

The project came to fruition through funding from The Grable Foundation and was created in conjunction with Project FUEL. Project FUEL, short for “Forward the Understanding of Every Life Lesson,” was started in 2009 by Deepak Ramola. The initiative aims to spread learning and lessons from all over the world through interactive learning and workshops.

The group attended a total of four online meetings with four or five different schools directed by Richa Nautiyal, the program manager of Project FUEL. Over the course of the meetings, students of both ages were able to gain inspiration, life lessons, and learn of the importance of sharing stories. As these meetings went on, the GATE teachers saw that the younger elementary school students added so much to the experience.

“Both groups benefit from this type of hands-on interaction, and so we decided to veer off from the normal path of this project and have no adults on the final product,” Mrs. Palladino said.

The students met in person twice, and after the project was completed they were reunited again at a wrap-up event at Avonworth Elementary School. At this event, Ramola spoke in person, congratulating Shaler Area and 12 other schools for their work done on wisdom corridors and similar projects. He also participated in fun activities with the students and everyone enjoyed food and snacks.

“It was so exciting to see the connections that students are building with everyone in their lives, not just with their peers, through projects like the Wisdom Corridor Project. It was great to be a part of it. My favorite part of the project was being able to mentor and just be a friend for some of the younger students,” senior Natalie Ondo said.