DHS honor society to create outdoor classroom

October 28, 2003|HERB BROCK

The National Honor Society chapter at Danville High School every year undertakes service projects aimed at benefitting a student, a group of students or the school as a whole and the community. The projects might include a computer for a class or books for the library or supplies for students or cookies for shut-ins.

This year, though, the organization of top students is embarking on a project that not only is a little different but also will last a lot longer. The group plans to create an outdoor classroom in a space off of Proctor Street, between the DHS gym and the old central office building and near the anchor.

The Danville Board of Education approved the project Monday night.

"We wanted to do something that would be permanent and that could be used by any class or club or other group in the school," said Mary Beth Ballard, a senior who is president of the honor society. "We envision, for instance, an art class or a drama class using it. But any class or group will be able to use it."


The classroom will be simply furnished, primarily with benches and a lecturn and table. The society hopes the outdoor learning facility will be completed by Thanksgiving.

"It will not be anything extravagant, and the students don't want it to be," said Margot Goodwin, a French teacher who serves as the society's sponsor. "It will fit in with the lawn and greenery. It will be an outdoor space for teachers and students to pursue education but in a place without walls or a ceiling."

The cost of the benches, lecturn and table is estimated at about $250, said Ballard. There will be an additional cost for minor landscaping that will have to be done, including some plantings.

The society, whose other officers include Mary Wheeler, Adam Hoover, Courtney Frye and Amber Wood, has been raising money to cover the costs.

The society has compiled a long list of projects aimed at helping individual students, groups or the school as a whole and also for the community.

"Just in my time with the organization, we have done such things as tutored fellow students, bought a computer for a student, and baked and distributed cookies to nursing home residents," Ballard said.

"When we were talking a few weeks ago about what we could do for our service projects, the idea of doing something that will be around for a long time after we're gone and will keep benefitting the school for many years to come was something we wanted to pursue," Ballard said. "And with this outdoor classroom, we think we've come up with something that fulfills that goal of leaving something permanent behind."

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