Steps to success are written on Newington school's stairs

Published on Sunday, 9 June 2019 21:10
Written by Karla Santos


NEWINGTON - “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” “Keep ya head up,” and “Be happy,” are a few of the inspiring words and phrases that can be found in the staircases throughout Martin Kellogg Middle School, after the completion of the “Stairways to Success” project by six students and a teacher.

Spanish teacher Elsa Batista-Yzaguirre and eighth-graders Lily Bucchi, Lily Jordan, Saachi Dave, Isabella Marocchin, Daniela Tavares and Maria Joseph, had the idea and took on the project from beginning to end.

“We saw an opportunity in empty spaces in staircases that we could enhance with positive words,” Batista-Yzaguirre said. “We have seven staircases around the building and the principal was very supportive. As the kids go up the stairs, they are looking down sometimes, you know not to fall, why not read a positive word?”

The individuals in charge of the project asked teachers and students for input including quotes and positive words that could help both students and teachers throughout the day.

Each staircase has a different theme. There is a staircase that was started by a teacher and was completed with input from students about what respect means to them.

Another staircase has a Dr. Seuss theme.

“It dresses up the school. It looks less boring, less ugly and it’s positive,” Batista-Yzaguirre said. “It’s a small, little way to promote self-esteem and positive self-image. We did it all over the school. My helpers helped out in different capacities. The machine I have at home, but they helped me find the words in my iPad, find the different fonts and save them. At home, I’m able to print them out. One of their biggest help was helping me attach them to the stairs.”

Principal Jason Lambert said he gives all the credit to the teacher and students who managed the project.

“Mrs. Batista with a handful of students that were highly invested in this actually had an idea and the first idea was we were going to take a small stairwell and put some positive messages in it and we tried it out,” Lambert said. “Immediately, staff, students, visitors just thought it was like the neatest thing in the world so then we got bigger and bigger. When kids come to school we look for ways to promote optimism, to promote hope to make students feel like this is a place of possibility.”

“We were able to make this project come to life, from cleaning the stairs to creating the logos, we have worked very hard to make sure it comes out perfect,” Lily Jordan and Maria Joseph said in a statement of behalf of the students who worked on the project. “The point of the project was to make the school more beautiful. We made our school more beautiful by adding bright and positive words onto all of the stairways. We turned plain stairs that go unnoticed to beautiful stairs that now get the attention of many. The words on the stairs have positive messages that will keep your day going.”

To learn more about Martin Kellogg Middle School, visit

Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Sunday, 9 June 2019 21:10. Updated: Sunday, 9 June 2019 21:13.