When Dream Director Syreeta Gates arrived at August Martin High School, the walls of the school were stark white. But once the Dream Team came together, they were determined to change that. After surveying their peers and learning that 80% of students felt that the school’s physical environment needed to change, the team launched Operation Skittles, a project to redesign 100% of the hallways at August Martin. Their dream was to make the school a better place to go, and to change the reputation of the school around the city.
Over the course of the year, the students built a relationship with the curators of the recently-demolished graffiti arts site, 5Pointz. Through that partnership, the students got over a hundred renowned graffiti artists to come to their school in May and over a single weekend, transformed the interior of the entire school.
After Operation Skittles was completed, the students and the school got significant media recognition for the complete transformation that happened. August Martin High School is now hailed as one of the most elaborate graffiti galleries in New York City. But more importantly, the school has become a space where students both want to be, and feel empowered to lead.