ucps logo

Archived Stories for Union County Public Schools

Search by Keyword

Shiloh Baptist gifts East Elementary a reading garden

Shiloh Baptist Church youth group unload a truck of flowers and shrubs slated to help create the East Elementary reading garden. (Below) The Heart of Monroe group from Shiloh Baptist Church take a minute for a group photo. Pictured, (front row, from left) are Caty Alston, 13, Aedyn Randolph, 11, Abby Finley, 12, Sahana Venable, 14, Joylene King, 14, Mady Jewell, 13, Olivia Howell, 12, Sarah Myers, 11, and Jacob Phillips, 13; back row, from left, are Jonas Alston, 12, Denny Ferguson,Tyler Finley, 14, Stephen Ritchie, 16, Reagan Gunter, 14, Todd Daniels, Noah Daniels, 17, Austin Tate, 15, Jake Myers, 14, Jennifer Myers, and Gina Daniels. (Below middle) Todd Daniels shows Jennifer Myers where to place some of the flowers in the East Elementary reading garden. Also pictured, at left, is Jacob Phillips, 13; and Jake Myers, 14. (Bottom) Aedyn Randolph, 11, carries pine needles to the East Elementary reading garden.

About 15 teenagers and youth leaders from Shiloh Baptist Church have left a legacy that will be enjoyed by students at East Elementary for years to come.

The group worked Monday (June 29) and Tuesday (June 30) to build a reading garden, located in a fenced-in area at the school.

Todd Daniels, the minister of youth and young families at Shiloh Baptist Church, said that the church’s program, Heart from Monroe, has adopted East Elementary and its students.

“We wanted to be a volunteer network for East Elementary School because they don’t really have a Parent Teacher Organization,” Daniels said. “We want to make this a beautiful place that’s enticing for children who want to come and read with their teachers.”

The grading and landscaping of the location was contributed by J.B. Preslar Trucking and Grading Co. Inc. of Monroe and David Duke with Greenstripe Landscaping.

“I just hope that when the kids start school, they’re able to use this and they really enjoy it for years to come," Daniels said. "We hope the flowers and shrubs that we’re planting today will be a happy place for them to come.”

East Elementary principal Denny Ferguson estimates the value of the grading, landscaping and plants needed to make the garden between $4,000 and $5,000.

Ferguson said research shows there is a correlation between the environment in which a student studies and the degree a student learns. “A comfortable learning environment for students actually increases their willingness to read.”

One of the volunteers, 17-year-old Noah Daniels agrees. "When the kids have a brighter and happier environment, they’re going to want to come to school more,” he said. "When they can come out here and see there are people who actually care about them, that helps influence their learning environment.”

Noah said on a personal level, donating time to help the school fulfills the giving aspect of his faith. “It gives all of us the chance to serve like we’re suppose to. Through out the New Testament, Jesus said to serve, so we’re serving. I think the kids out here today will one day look back on this and realize how important it was to do this, and how much we helped the students here.”

Ferguson said the reading garden helps support the school's mission to make reading a priority. “East Elementary students read deeper to soar higher, because we’re the eagles,” he said.

“The outdoor learning garden will support that by allowing our students a safe outside area that’s comfortable, that will allow students a different environment to dig into reading. In order for students to read better, they have to read more. We know that by providing a great, healthy outdoor learning environment we know that will allow our students to read more.”

Ferguson thanked the Heart of Monroe and the Shiloh Baptist Church youth group for their hard work. 

"We can’t wait to have the ribbon cutting ceremony and watch our first group of students get out and enjoy this new environment,” Ferguson said. 

While at the school, the group also did some work in the playground area.

Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe - UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Jun 30, 2015 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

Back to list of stories for Union County Public Schools