Portions of the Ashville High School building are very old. Through the years, the roof has leaked, and water damage is visible on several of the ceiling tiles.

Several high school students interested in art, along with their art teacher, thought outside the box to come up with an idea to give back to their school, and help the school save money.

Instead of replacing the dingy ceiling tiles, art students decided to paint over them, in the hopes of giving the ceiling tiles several more years of life.

Joni Gramling has been the art teacher at Ashville High School for the past 13 years.

"Students reproduced famous pieces of artwork on ceiling tiles," Gramling said. "Then as we studied it in the classroom, they could look up at the ceiling and see what we were about to study."

Gramling said the students like it because it is an opportunity for them to leave their mark on the school.

"We even moved our artwork to some of the tiles in the front hallway of the school to dress and brighten it up," Gramling said. "We also have some panels in the library that are reproductions of movies the kids have seen."

Gramling said this is great what the students are doing, and they are so proud of their work.

AHS principal Patti Johnson said the project started as a way to beautify the school.

"It is also something for them to leave behind once they graduate," Johnson said. "Many of the paintings were done by students who graduated the past two years. We will leave this artwork here, because when they come back from time to time for a visit, they will be able to see what they left behind."

Johnson said she graduated from AHS in 1985, and her class donated the outdoor rug that is currently placed at the entrance to the high school.

"Back in the ‘80s, every class left their mark in a positive way," Johnson said. "That’s what these students are doing. This is also promoting the arts and Mrs. Gramling is excellent."

AHS assistant principal Jeff Hardy said the school is blessed to have such an outstanding art teacher.

"She takes her job very seriously," Hardy said. "We are also fortunate to have as many students as we do who take her art classes. They have benefitted greatly from it, and we have found a lot of hidden talent here among our students.

"Mrs. Gramling has worked with these students over the years and these students have made great strides in their artistic abilities. I am very, very proud of our kids."

As far as ceiling tiles, Hardy said it is a wonderful way to spruce the school up.

"The kids can see their work," Hardy said. "And they want to reach that goal of being able to do a piece of work that is good enough to go up on the ceiling.

"They take an old ceiling tile that is banged up or scratched and make it look very beautiful."