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HSE Sweet Shells

Officer Scott Kenny speaks to students in the newly opened Sweet Shells Intention Garden on the campus of High School East.

A Spot on Campus for Reflection

On Friday, June 17th at High School East, students and faculty members were able to enjoy the Sweet Shells Intention Garden and view the newly installed peace poles designed by student clubs.

The initial brainstorming idea for the garden was by East's former safety officer, Officer DeGrandis. Officer Scott Kenny presented the idea to administration and after the project was approved, Colin McGovern took it over as his Eagle Scout project. As the project progressed, many more staff members and students donated their time and effort to support the project.

Mrs. Hvidding, school nurse, and several of the special needs teachers, discussed cleaning up a garden area for the students to tend to and a fenced in vegetable garden was planted for them to water during the summer months. Also, the Autism Academy summer school will grow watermelons, pumpkins, and gourds. Strawberries, blueberries and other herbs have been planted there as well.

The HS East Environmental Club planted a flower garden and take care of the maintenance, like weeding. HSE Guidance Counselor Carrie Bush and teacher Lynn Cutini had a wonderful idea for an "intention garden" within the flower garden area. Ms. Bush and the other counselors work with numerous students who are dealing with an untold amount of difficult challenges in their lives. Everything from a death in the family, daily anxieties and the opioid epidemic affecting someone they know and love. She came up with the "Sweet Shells" garden that has a beach-like surroundings. Students can visit the garden, pick up a shell from the paver area and write a message or leave a picture of a loved one for whom they are worried about. They can leave the shell, with the message, in the sandy portion of the garden or remain at the paver sitting area to reflect.

Breaking ground on the garden started in the summer of 2021. Construction continued into the fall with the finishing touches completed this spring. 

Materials to construct the garden were donated by Le-Ed Concrete and Block, Clayton Gravel, Mulch and Tree Masters, Chap Construction, PNG Landscaping, and the HSE Class of '84 (Officer Kenny's graduating class) donated the peace poles. Ms. Jenae Koon donated all the slate for the garden. 

Colin stated that it was truly a collaborative effort and lots of time and effort was spent working over the summer. Thank you to all who were involved! 

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