Over the past several years, Atherton High School’s campus has suffered the devastating winds of Hurricane Ike, along with multiple ice storms and general neglect, leaving an aura that permeated the perimeter of the neighborhood school.
What to do? Social studies teachers Julie Anderson and Rita Cron charged Atherton’s 2009-10 freshmen students with the responsibility of community service. During the past year, the students have collected 2,500 cans of food for The Lord’s Kitchen, 1,700 children’s books given to Kosair Children’s Hospital, $300 for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer effort, $1,000 for Atherton students unable to enjoy Christmas, and helped countless churches and agencies throughout Jefferson County.
But what to do about the Atherton campus? Lowe’s Home Center, Bashford Manner, assisted the school through a “Toolbox Grant” of $3000, supplemented by a $1500 gift from the Atherton Senior Class. With this financial opportunity and the help of Lowe’s employees, a master plan was set in motion involving massive weeding in the front area of the campus, as well as in the courtyard. Weeding gave way to the laying of hundreds of yards of mulch cloth, which then allowed students to spread over 350 bags of Cypress mulch – on a 90 degree day!
Weeding continued on the Tyler Lane side of the campus, behind the football field, and a fresh coat of white paint was applied to all the posts. Other paint teams fanned out on the Dundee Road and Emerson Avenue perimeters to complete the painting project. Not to be left out, “Atherton Rebel Gold” paint was used to refresh many gates around the campus. Paint brushes and additional help was generously provided by Hike’s Point Paint & Wallpaper.
Simultaneously, inside the courtyard, other students painted, swept, moved concrete benches into more appropriate groupings and assembled six new picnic tables and 10 new park benches.
Dr. Tom Aberli, Atherton’s new principal, got into the spirit by trimming all of the overgrowth in the courtyard with his trusty chain saw.
Letters have been received from neighbors, appreciative of the new look. All students will be able to use the updated and aesthetically pleasing courtyard for lunch, and teachers will be able to hold classes there as well. The addition of the picnic tables and benches will allow future Rebels a nice place to relax between classes and at lunch.
In the fall, the Class of 2013 (the freshmen of 2009-10), will present a die-cast plaque to Dr. Aberli, commemorating the efforts of the 300 freshmen, and urging all Rebels to “Keep it beautiful.”
By Rita A. Cron, Ed.S., Social Studies, Atherton H.S.