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Lowes awards grant to Parkwood High

A $5,000 grant from Lowes’ Toolbox for Education has been a major shot in the arm for the landscaping efforts that have been in the works at Parkwood High School for the past two years.
On designated weekends in March and April, more than 150 students, faculty and parents came to the school to take part in the massive project -- setting up and planting hundreds of plants purchased with the grant money.
Parkwood principal Rob Jackson remembers coming to the school on a Saturday and being amazed by the amount of work being done by students, staff and parent volunteers to beautify the campus.
“That weekend I experienced one of the most meaningful events during my tenure at Parkwood High School,” he said. “I watched as students walked from one area to another looking for ways to help one another. The work speaks for itself. I do not believe the courtyard has ever looked this good. More importantly to me, though, is the spirit of community and volunteerism I witnessed.”
The Lowes’ grant was written with the plan to first focus on the central courtyard area of the school - an area where students and faculty pass on a daily basis. In good weather, students meet there in the mornings, at class change and after school.
“The courtyard looks beautiful,” Jackson said. “It brightens and enlivens the school. More than aesthetic value, the courtyard now exists as a vibrant witness to the power of belief. A small group of teachers believed that something could be done for the courtyard. They sought grant funding, purchased needed materials, and then organized massive workdays. Their belief has transformed the appearance of our school.”
The landscape committee at the school consisted of math teacher Marion Millican, school librarian Nancy Cole and science teacher Joyce Durham. The school’s HOSA (Heath Occupations Student Association) club has also worked hard for the past two years to raise landscaping funds by working the concession stand during the basketball season.
In honor of Red Ribbon Week, the HOSA club also planted several hundred red tulip bulbs around the campus last fall. 
The landscaping plans for the courtyard included landscaping the entrances to the classroom buildings and creating paved walkways where sidewalks needed to be extended. The grant from Lowe’s made it possible to purchase five truckloads of topsoil, one truck load of sand, more than 280 plants, several rolls of landscape cloth, hundreds of pavers and mulch.
Laney Hill Nurseries donated the landscape plans, while Parkwood parent Dave Caskey volunteered his time and expertise to help create the new walkways.
Many clubs at Parkwood encouraged club members to come out and help with the courtyard project, including Air Force JROTC, BETA, Book Club, FCCLA, FFA, HOSA, Interact, Key Club, New Century Scholars, NHS and Student Council.
Parkwood teacher Tonie Allen and her FCCLA group and teacher Cheryl Brightsen and the Math Department have adopted and are now caring for the flower beds in the courtyard.
“The time and effort of all the volunteers was wonderful and the project would not have been possible without it,” said Cole, a landscape committee member.
The committee hopes to be able to continue with this great community effort as there are other areas of the campus that need additional landscaping. “We strongly feel that we must make this effort to improve our facilities to have our campus be a source of pride for our students,” Jackson said.

Written by: Nancy Cole, media specialist Parkwood High School
Posted: May 07, 2008 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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