Courtyard undergoes major improvements thanks to dedicated volunteers


Ruth Arroyo & Keaton Haynie, In-Depth Co-editors

   Courtyard upgrades kicked into gear this summer and continues with help from student and staff volunteers. The first phase was a prototype outdoor classroom. Volunteers built the deck first and then set up power charging stations. 

   The work began three summers ago when student ambassadors were given the chance to solve a problem in the community. They decided the problem was not having enough street lights. Their plan was to create solar panel charging stations with LED lights which would be placed in parks so that kids would be able to play games and socialize with others. They applied for a Ford Next Generation Education Grant by writing a proposal and received a grant of ten thousand dollars.

   The ambassadors used up the grant so they applied for another one. The original plan for parks was changed to updating the Guilford courtyard. Volunteers wanted the courtyard to be a place where teachers could take their classes. The ambassadors proposed to give students the opportunity to sit outside for lunch to the administrators.

   “I think it’s pretty” said Edith Arroyo, senior. “I just want to know when we will be able to use it.”

   Administration approved of the idea to let students eat lunch outside, so the ambassadors went to the booster club to raise money. 

   Students worked a lot over all three projects. They had been planning and organizing for over two years. 

   “I thought it was going to be a lot of work,” said Ms. Magee, HS Academy Coach, “and it was a lot of work.”

   Both the ambassadors and the staff worked on their own time: an estimated ten to fifteen hours each. They worked during the summer and weekends once school started back up. They even worked on Thursdays before school. Their favorite part was putting in the solar panel charging stations, as well as seeing the finished product they had been working on for so long. 

   “To finally see everything work out in the end and see the product you wanted and get to try and test it was an awesome experience,”said Rashad Ahmad, senior.