New Hope Elementary Has a Custodian by Day, Cartoonist by Night

By
Juma Jones, custodian-artist, New Hope-Solebury Upper Elementary School
Image via New Hope-Solebury School District at MSN.

Students at New Hope Solebury’s Upper Elementary School had just recovered from post-quarantine jitters when the calendar dealt another unsettling blow: the annual round of state testing. Kate Fishman, MSN, reported on how they found calm from an unlikely source. 

As the testing dates loomed, the eight-year-olds’ whisperings in hallways indicated an underlying unease. 

One pair of ears, however, tuned into the chatter. 

Juma Jones, custodian, sensed the stress level and decided to alleviate it. 

He commandeered a whiteboard, drew a cheery unicorn, and added a message: “Good morning, class! Let’s have a great day.” 

He then positioned it strategically. 

“I wanted to show them that they are bigger than any test,” he said. “I think it’s important for each of them to know this, so I place the drawing right at the door where they all can see it.” 

The feel-good billboard was a hit. Before long, he was taking student requests for his daily subjects and inspiring quotes. 

Jones knows the power of positivity. He turned to art when faced with his own challenges, a terrible car accident in 2007. 

The kids are now responding with kind words of their own. 

“Mr. Juma, your messages always make me smile,” one student wrote in a recent Post-it thank-you note. “I hope you smile, too.” 

More on this inspirational artist is at MSN

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