By Kristin Hackler
More than 30 students and 9 volunteers from the City of Charleston staff showed up bright and early in the courtyard at St. Johns High School on Tuesday, September 14, for Trident United Way’s annual Day of Caring. The Day of Caring, which is geared toward encouraging area employees to “skip” work for a day and participate in helping their community, was supported by more than 7,000 volunteers in the tri-county area this year and brought more than $1 million in labor and supplies to local non-profits in a single day.
At St. Johns High School, the focus was on creating a Memorial Garden for students Jesus Villa and Roman Slothower, both students who died in fatal car accidents this past summer. The school expects to add the names of other students and teachers who have passed away over the years to the garden’s wall, but hope they don’t have to add more any time soon.
Aimee Lassor, Student Support Specialist for Communities in Schools at St. Johns, coordinated the day’s efforts and the project was almost entirely complete by the end of the day. The Memorial Garden was a true multi-disciplinary effort, with the Geometry class drawing the half-moon shape of the garden the day before and the Carpentry class built benches and created the garden’s brick circumference. The Science class researched native plants for the landscaping and chose monkey grass, Mexican petunias, camellias, lantanas, and trumpet creeper to adorn the semi-circular beds, and the Art class built an arch out of rebar to support the climbing plants. The arch, which had previously been displayed during the school’s 9/11 ceremony, was built out of rebar in respect for the ruins of the Twin Towers, and they hope that the raw metal will soon be covered by bright, living vines. Finally, the Special Education classes will be assigned to maintaining the garden throughout the year.
Special thanks for helping to accomplish this year’s project go to Palmetto Pride for the grant money to install the garden, and the St. Johns Interact Club for their help throughout the process.