JL Jackson Grade 10 student Kate Verdurmen shows the work in progress that is a mural she is painting for her school’s library. (Contributed)

JL Jackson Grade 10 student Kate Verdurmen shows the work in progress that is a mural she is painting for her school’s library. (Contributed)

Artistic act of kindness prompts flood of accolades for Salmon Arm student

Grade 10 student Kate Verdurmen is painting a mural for J.L. Jackson library

Volunteering to support her school’s library triggered an unexpected show of appreciation for Kate Verdurmen.

Salmon Arm Secondary JL Jackson campus librarian April Friesen said the library is undergoing some restructuring, and one of the goals is to bring the outdoors inside as much as possible. “A Walk in the Park” was adopted as a theme for the library and, having noticed Verdurmen’s creative talents and impressed by her work ethic, she was approached with the idea of painting a mural that, according to Friesen, “embodied the atmosphere we are hoping to create.”

“She enthusiastically agreed and has spent many hours, oftentimes giving up her lunch, to accomplish this task before the end of the school year,” said Friesen. “She came up with a fantastic first draft of her design ideas which included a pathway winding around a lake, all from a mouse’s perspective. Kate welcomed any suggestions we had, reworked her draft, and is now adding meticulous detail to her art piece.”

Verdurmen said she wanted to feature a park with a twist, and decided on a “downscale” version where instead of trees there are flowers.

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Impressed with Verdurmen’s generosity and commitment, Friesen began asking other faculty at Jackson about her. Verdurmen’s teachers were quick to respond, referring to her friendly, confident, enthusiastic and someone who goes the extra mile on assignments.

“Kate is consistently looking for ways to improve herself, not only by challenging her limits but seeking feedback regularly on ways that she can ensure she is reaching her potential,” commented athletics teacher Krys Pick. “She is always polite and courteous and makes a point to connect with her teachers and build connections. She is an incredibly mature student who puts forth her best efforts at all times.”

Teacher Erin Janowsky referred to Verdurmen’s passion for learning as “refreshing and invigorating and beautiful.”

“I just think we need to recognize people like this who do such kind, benevolent things for others with no real thought for themselves,” said Friesen. “I think it’s a lovely quality that she possesses.”

Asked what she thought about leaving a legacy at the school with the mural, Verdurmen replied, “I guess it will be kind of cool if I ever come back and see it on the wall. Hopefully someone else will paint over it in later years… and have the same experience as me.”

“I don’t think that’s our plan – see, she’s very humble,” said Friesen.

Verdurmen said the mural will count toward the art class she’s currently in, and that she is considering take art class in Grade 11. Over the summer, she’ll continue volunteering on Saturday mornings at the Downtown Salmon Arm Farmers Market.

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