Organizers hope garden fosters legacy of student pride

Dozens of students, parents and community members will put on their gardening gloves today for a work day at Northwestern High School's new Legacy Garden.

The garden was started last summer to give students a landscaped outdoor space. When complete, the Legacy Garden will feature flowers in the school's colors, a stone pergola constructed by students at the Applied Technology Center and a small amphitheater.

The idea was to give students an outdoor gathering place that would be useful and would increase school pride.

"It's their memories, it's a part of their school and their community," Northwestern Principal James Blake said. "We just wanted to give them an area they would be proud of."

Work on the project began thanks to a $5,000 grant from Lowe's Home Improvement, given to the school's choral department.

Laura Mallard, a former choral booster president who designed the garden, said the space should be usable by the end of November and will be finished by spring.

Organizers envision the space being used for socializing, outdoor classroom instruction, small performances or special events.

It also will have a memorial garden honoring those students who died before graduating from Northwestern.

Mallard said volunteers today will plant more than 150 flowers and shrubs.

Support for the project also comes from the sale of honorary bricks. Students, parents, alumni and others can buy personalized bricks to be placed in walkways in the garden. More than 50 bricks with the names of retired teachers and staff members already have been installed.

The sale of bricks will be an ongoing fundraiser for the choral department.

Anyone interested in working on the Legacy Garden should show up at Northwestern High School between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. today. Be ready to get dirty.

Honorary bricks can be purchased for $50 to $150 by calling choral director Elizabeth Mixon at 981-1226.