It’s been over 20 years since Raven Roxanne walked the halls of Destin Elementary School but she still remembers her experience like it was yesterday.
“I got in trouble for swinging on those poles,” she said as she pointed to a guardrail by one of the sidewalks.
Her parents still live in the same house she grew up in, right down the street from the school.
“She said we should walk here for old times sake,” Roxie Wilson, her mother, said.
Now, Roxanne lives with her husband and two dogs in Charleston, South Carolina. Having grown up helping her parents in their art gallery, The Zoo Gallery, in Grayton Beach, art is a part of Roxanne.
“My mom painted that tree,” Roxanne said as she peeked into one of the kindergarten classrooms that has a tree painted on the wall. “She would come to paint every day so I got to hang out with her and do school at the same time.”
Roxanne defines herself as an abstract and impressionist painter. Since receiving a fine arts degree from Auburn University, she has been featured in multiple publications such as Forbes and Vogue for her artwork. The Anthropologie store also created a tabletop collection featuring some of her art.
But one of her proudest accomplishments was writing and illustrating a children’s book called “A Raven’s Nest.”
Roxanne said she originally started painting bird’s nests for her wedding invitations.
“I wanted to create an image that represented home and our love,” she said on her website, "love that wasn’t perfect but was perfectly imperfect.”
Eventually, Roxanne started getting drawings of nests from children who had seen her artwork, which gave her the idea to write the book.
“It might have been the hardest thing I have ever had to do,” she said. “I have always struggled with words and working on this book really brought to surface these insecurities.”
Her struggle was something she explained to fourth graders on Monday.
“I had a ton of learning disabilities,” she told them. “I wasn’t good at reading. I’m still not very good at reading, but now I have a book. That’s crazy!”
Roxanne had the students draw their own nests using colors that made them feel.
“What color did you chose?” she asked a student.
“Blue,” the fourth grader replied.
“And how does that make you feel?” Roxanne asked.
“Sad,” the student said.
“That’s good,” Roxanne said. “That’s OK to feel all your emotions.”
As her time came to an end and the students got ready to head to their next class, Roxanne had one last thing to say.
“Do things that you love, that make you very happy and you never know where you can go,” she said.