Just grass and a satellite dish occupy the courtyard at Evans Elementary School. That landscape, however, is going to change.
Following the suggestion of fifth-grader Dylan Pope, the school is raising money to convert the courtyard into a reading garden in memory of first-grade teacher Bonnie Harrison.
Harrison spent 23 of her 38 years in education as a first-grade teacher at Evans Elementary. She retired at the end of 2006, shortly before losing her battle with cancer in July.
"I thought it would be a great idea to create a memorial for her," said Dylan, one of her former pupils. "I even cried when she retired because I really didn't get a chance to say goodbye."
An aspiring architect, Dylan drew up blueprints and sketches of the courtyard and took photos of the area with a digital camera.
He said the reading garden could have benches, a stream or pond, a storage shed for Harrison's favorite books and even a small amphitheater where teachers could read to their classes. He also said the garden could be lined with stones that the pupils decorated with their favorite memories of Harrison.
"She was all about reading. That's why we thought the reading garden would be appropriate," said Parent-Teacher Organization President Teri Booth.
Principal Scott Weinand agreed.
"For one of the students to come up with the idea, you have to run with it," he said.
Evans High School horticulture teacher Chuck Anderson will help with the design.
Booth said the school is trying to raise $2,000 for the project and she hopes it will be complete by the beginning of next school year.
The pupils launched their fundraising efforts with a read-a-thon, collecting $1 for each minute they read.
"We just read each day and write down how many minutes," Dylan said. "It can be in school, at the playground, at recess, anywhere. I read like a humongous amount of time a day."
The school also is accepting contributions for the garden from the community. Anyone who would like to make a donation can write a check payable to the school and mail it to Evans Elementary School, 628 Gibbs Road, Evans 30809.
Contributors should include the notation "Mrs. Harrison's reading garden" on the memo line.
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