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Hampton Alumni Remembrance Garden one step closer to fruition

| Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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Alumni from the Hampton High School class of 1974 are working with school officials to begin the planning and funding of a memorial garden for classmates who have died. The classplans to purchase the statue “Fly Away” from Randolph Rose Collection, based out of Yonkers, N.Y. as the cornerstone of the garden.

Hampton Township School District officials are moving forward with a plan to create a Hampton Alumni Remembrance Garden to honor Hampton students who have died.

Last month, alumni from the graduating class of 1974 requested permission from the school district's administration to begin planning and funding a memorial garden that would include a statue purchased by their alumni group.

The Hampton School Board planned to vote Nov. 11 on the plans for and installation of the Class of 1974 statue at the high school, as well as the formation of a remembrance-garden committee to further develop the vision for the garden.

“I'm excited about it,” said Scott Docherty, a 1974 graduate of Hampton High School. “It's going to be a great thing for the alumni association. It's incredible the excitement this project created.”

The Class of 1974 already raised $4,000 to purchase a bronze statue named “Fly Away” from the Randolph Rose Collection, based out of Yonkers, N.Y., as the cornerstone of the garden. The statue depicts a girl with her hand outstretched releasing a butterfly or dove.

Alumni from the Class of 1974 said they hope the statue will be installed by the summer in time for their 40th-class-reunion weekend. The Class of 1974 was the first graduating class to complete all four years at the current high school. Of the 274 graduates, 15 alumni have died.

Donna Merritt, a 1973 Hampton graduate, donated her architectural and design skills to create a proposed master plan for the garden that includes curved sidewalks, benches, paving stones on which students' names can be engraved and a remembrance wall located in front of the high school.

“I just wanted to make it nice and natural,” Merritt said.

The master plan for the garden will be developed in the coming weeks by the remembrance-garden committee, which will consist of representatives from several alumni classes and school district officials.

District officials also requested the committee develop an outline of how future donations will be used as the basis for developing a trust fund for the Hampton Alumni Remembrance Garden.

“We all appreciate the idea, and we're excited about it,” said Mary Alice Hennessey, school board member and chairwoman of the facilities committee.

“We'll be back with a more formal plan after the (remembrance garden) committee gets to meet a couple of times.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or bhofstetter@tribweb.com.

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