When students arrived for the first day Monday at Robert E. Lake Elementary School, many saw a well-decorated and welcoming art room. They were greeted by longtime art teacher Tammie Gallimore, who expressed her eagerness to work on projects during the upcoming year.
What a difference three weeks makes.
Getting the room to its current shape was a “whirlwind” for Gallimore, who three weeks ago found it “completely trashed” by vandals. But with help from friends, teachers and volunteers — many of whom Gallimore did not know — she was able to get her room decorated almost exactly the way she wanted. It’s her 13th year as a Clark County School District educator.
“I still have some bulletin boards to put up and some organizing to do,” she said.
Gallimore was devastated in late July to find her classroom at the northeast Las Vegas school desecrated after vandals took a fire extinguisher and sprayed it all over the classroom. They also opened tempera paints and squirted them on the carpet, walls and ceilings. There have been no arrests in the crime, where the suspects entered the classroom through a hatch on the roof, which had inadvertently been left unlocked following repairs of the school’s air conditioning unit.
“It was pretty horrific,” she said. “... It’s like they walked all over to make sure everything was hit.”
When the community heard about the vandalism, the response was overwhelming, Gallimore said. They were able to get the classroom back together in just a few days.
“I had a lot of help,” she said. “It came together pretty quickly.”
The classroom is unrecognizable from the state it was in three weeks ago. Books have been dusted off and replaced on shelves. A fresh coat of paint covers the tempera paint-splattered walls, and a freshly shampooed carpet looks as good as new.
Principal Larry McHargue said they plan on replacing that carpet with tile this winter.
About $1,800 was raised through a GoFundMe campaign to replace the destroyed supplies. Gallimore said she also had groups like the Boy Scouts of America, Las Vegas Avengers, Las Vegas Cause-Players Alliance and Never Give Up Foundation offer donations and help in the cleanup.
The GoFundMe raised about $1,400 more than its intended goal. Gallimore said she intends to use the rest of the funds toward other art programs and projects.