A Place for Peace at OHS

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by Layla Basile

The creation of the Serenity Garden that is arranged at the main entrance of Oakdale High School was implemented by the Addington family, Principal Jeff Marker, and the guidance counselors. As one may have heard, Kyle Addington and Luke Bartlett, who were students at OHS, tragically passed away.

Ms. Rebecca Main, Guidance Secretary, explained that the intriguing walkway of the carefully assembled stones is, “A reflection place for students.”

 Guidance Counselor, Ms. Chrissy Polce, further elaborated about the Serenity Garden, “[It is] A place to be mournful, but to celebrate those who have passed.”

Since Oakdale is a fairly new school, there has not been a program in effect – as many other Frederick County Schools do – that can bring honor and remembrance to students and staff who have or will pass.

Ms. Polce mentioned, “Ms. Addington was the catalyst to starting the Serenity Garden,” and further discussions with the administrative staff put this plan into motion.

When returning back to school after the winter break, the foundation for the Serenity Garden was set within the timeframe of a week. All construction credit goes to Barrick and Sons Landscaping and Hardscapes, who were generous enough to donate their supplies and time to this significant cause.The continued development of the Serenity Garden will include a more plentiful supply of shrubs and flowers, which has the anticipated bloom for the spring. Two benches, one on each side of the Garden, will be promptly placed diagonally towards the center of the walkway.

Names of those who have passed are expected to be engraved on the stones that lay the foundation. An idea expressed by Ms. Polce is to engrave names of the students who have graduated on the stones as well, if there is enough interest and support from students and their parents. Ms. Polce is open to hearing any student opinions that may benefit the Serenity Garden beyond its initial development.

Even though the Serenity Garden encourages one to ponder the unique characteristics of the dearly departed and influences they had on OHS and their community, it’s essential to recall fond memories about them as well. The Serenity Garden will strengthen the friendly and safe environment of OHS – the heart of the school – that is extended throughout the entire school population. So, be proud to be a Bear, it means that you care.

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The tranquil Serenity Garden is now built at the front of OHS for viewers to sit and reflect.