(Updated at 3:40 p.m.) There’s a tiger on the prowl at Terraset Elementary School, thanks to the hard work of the seven-member Junior Girl Scout Troop 1632.
A new 94-foot-long mural of the body and tail of Terry the Tiger — Terraset’s mascot — now adorns the sidewalk leading to the school. At the end of Terry’s tail is the school slogan, and nearby, colorful flowers have sprouted on one of the school’s formerly-bare garden sheds.
This is due to the talent and effort of the Reston-based Junior Girl Scout troop, who completed it to meet a scout requirement and to add a little joy for Terraset’s staff and students.
“I want them to think that we really put a lot of effort into it and that it makes them maybe happy,” says 10-year-old Avery McCusker, who will start fifth grade at Terraset this fall.
Terraset Principal Lindsay Trout agrees that, after such a difficult year, Terry’s already bringing smiles to faces.
“The tiger and motto are making a difference to those who have seen them,” Trout said in a press release. “They beautify the school, boost school spirit…and are fun. I’ve already seen both kids and adults walk the winding tail of Terry the Tiger into the school.”
Junior Girl Scout Troop 1632 formed six years ago with many of its seven members having known each other since they were in preschool, so more than half of their lives.
The mural took hours of preparation, mostly done virtually.
As Avery points out, kids her age can’t be vaccinated yet, so they had to continue to stay safe and apart. So, when the girls gathered outside on a hot Saturday in mid-June to paint, it was a joyous occasion.
“It was like the first time we were seeing each other in person in over a year basically,” says McCusker. “It was really nice, because we all got to have fun together and stuff.”
Even with a little help from adults, including South Lakes High School art teacher Matthew Ravenstahl, who helped design the mural so that it could fit the walkway, painting the tiger and flowers took all day.
The entire project cost about $1,000, mostly for supplies and stencils, but the troop raised all the money themselves by selling cookies, magazines, and other products.
For their efforts, the seven members of the troop earned a Bronze Award.
“A Bronze Award is the highest honor a Junior Girl Scout can earn unless she saves a life,” Troop 1632 co-leader Angie Tombul said. “As Girl Scouts work hard to raise money and earn awards and badges, they are simultaneously learning the importance of giving back to the community in positive ways.”
Terry the Tiger is now ready and waiting to greet students when they return this fall back to Terraset Elementary, which opened in 1977.
It will be McCusker’s first time going to school in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020. She’s looking forward to it — with some reservations.
“I am kind of [excited], but I’m also kind of not because I don’t like masks,” says McCusker, referring to the expectation that unvaccinated students will still be required to wear face masks. “But overall, I am.”
Angela Woolsey contributed to this report.
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