Community involvement takes root at Asbury

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 Fifth graders at Asbury Elementary were not to be denied in their efforts to plant trees on their playground.

This is a story about how two kids took an idea and made it a reality.

Carly Larkin and Shiloh Patronsky, two fifth graders at Asbury Elementary School,  approached me a few weeks ago and said they wanted to get some trees to plant on the school’s playground for extra shade. They said it would be a great idea to help the environment and to beautify the school. They also said students could watch the trees grow as part of their science learning. They were ecstatic when I told them I would help them.

With great excitement and hope they wrote a letter to Willoway Distribution Center, a wholesale operation in Hilliard. The letter was poster size and included the signatures of the entire fifth grade class as a show of support.

About a week went by and the girls asked me, daily and sometimes several times a day, if I had heard from the company. When no word was received they decided to call the company to confirm that the letter had arrived.

When they were ready to call they were nervous with excitement. They had even written out a script to ensure that they knew what to say when they talked to Willoway manager Jack Johnston. Mr. Johnston told the girls that he could give them two trees. Carly and Shiloh were so excited that they hung up the phone without asking about a pick up date or time! They were so disappointed that they forgot this detail that they forgot the most important part of the call – the company said "Yes."

A few days later the girls were on the phone again setting a pick up time and date. Carly and Shiloh arranged for the fifth graders to vote on where the trees would be planted because they wanted their fellow students to be involved.

Then it was time to organize the planting. The girls had to schedule it between three different fifth grade teachers’ schedules and the principal’s, too. A time was set and 10 of their fellow classmates were chosen to help plant the trees on the big day.

On Nov. 16, Allscapes Management, a residential and commercial landscaping company from London, Ohio, delivered the trees and helped with the planting. They came with a huge dump truck, 10 shovels, and two workers. Although it was cold and the ground frozen, the children worked together and got the trees planted.

Throughout this whole process, Carly and Shiloh would not take no for an answer. They showed tremendous organizational skills, leadership ability, and executed their idea.

I am proud these two girls and of their successful efforts. They were able to build morale in the fifth grade class, set and example of leadership, and show others that you can do anything you put your mind to.

Korrie Hough is an art teacher at Asbury Elementary School in the Groveport Madison school district.

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