Chapman Elementary School's 20th anniversary celebration has been in the works for years, although art teacher Sue Andrews didn't know it.

Chapman Elementary School's 20th anniversary celebration has been in the works for years, although art teacher Sue Andrews didn't know it.

The art show celebrating the milestone will bring together several projects that have been ongoing for many years. The event is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 6.

Andrews said it wasn't her goal to have all the elements come together for the 20th anniversary it just worked out that way.

It all started when Andrews broke both of her wrists seven years ago.

"I had to sit still and I realized the importance of being still," she said, adding that the realization brought about the idea of building a Japanese garden outside the school at 8459 Sawmill Road.

"I wanted to do a quiet space. A Japanese garden is important, especially in a society where we have to take time to be still."

Work on the Japanese garden has continued over the years.

Last year, Andrews decided to install a sea dragon mound in the garden. She recently finished the dragon's "heart," which will double as a letterboxing experience for students.

The "heart" looks like a large clay pot and will have a stamp and journal inside for students. Letterboxing is an activity that leads participants to different locations with clues. Once the letterbox is located, the finder removes a stamp from the box, stamps their letter journal and leaves a stamp of their own in the letterbox's journal.

Andrews did not want a normal journal for the school's letterbox, though. The students made a large scroll out of natural materials from around the world and created their own stamps from clay.

"We got roots from Italy, a corn husk from Canada," she said. "A lot of different elements made that paper."

Students also thought of a special message for the scroll to award people who find the letterbox. It was inspired by school secretary Robyn Peltier, who died last year.

Parents will follow clues to search for the letterbox during the May 6 open house.

"The kids came up with the idea to give clues to their parents and then they'll go on a journey," Andrews said.

Students have created their own journals for letterboxing. After the open house, they can write about the journey with their family, Andrews said.

Parents also will have an opportunity to view artwork that has been created during the school year.

Andrews has posted artwork around the school. Students can guide their parents through the halls and show them their projects.