Teacher's creative door decorations for Black History Month inspire originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com
Last year, this Florida elementary school teacher made national headlines for her Black History Month door decorations celebrating natural hair.
This year, she decided to take it up a notch, and, instead of decorating just one door, she created two in honor of Black History Month.
"Decorating doors and teaching [students] about culture allows me to mold and shape their minds, and their hearts to be respectful and kind," Chanique Davis, 32, an art teacher at Lake Alfred Elementary School in Lake Alfred, told "Good Morning America."
The first door is another homage to natural hair, featuring different protective hairstyles, an important part of African American women's hair culture, Davis said.
A licensed hair braider herself, Davis explained to "GMA'' that the protective hairstyle is an integration of natural hair with real hair extensions.
"Last year, I wanted to pay tribute to the natural hair movement. My goal was to really just show awareness and talk about the beauty in the culture of 'Locs' because there is so much controversy with 'Locs' being allowed in schools and in corporate America," she said. "I was honestly shocked [by the photo going viral]. Honestly, I didn't realize that just doing a door decoration would get so much attention."
But cotton or paper hair would not do then … or now.
"I used real hair extensions on my actual door," Davis added. "When my clients come to my house to get their protective styles, sometimes they have bought too much hair or there's hair leftover. So I had all of this extra hair and I thought, 'let's make art.'"
The second door is dedicated to media entrepreneur Tyler Perry, who went from producing his own stage plays to just last year opening Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.
"The reason why he is so important to the African American community is because he shows perseverance -- a true example of black excellence," Davis said.
Perry is also personally relevant to Davis because they share a similar story of determination.
"His story is of overcoming homelessness and that is part of my story. I was homeless for three years when I was younger," Davis shared with "GMA." "So sharing his story and sharing my story go hand-in-hand in teaching the children that just because you started from a place doesn't mean you have to stay there."
While she is glad her doors are raising awareness, Davis said she just hopes to teach her students to learn to have a deep appreciation for diversity and beauty within other's cultures.
This year, Davis will also decorate her door for Hispanic Heritage Month and National Native American Heritage Month.
"Just being tolerant isn't enough," she said. "I want them to be appreciative of the beauty of people who are different than them."