Gazebo latest addition to Hampton High's Remembrance Garden
The Hampton Remembrance Garden at Hampton High School continues to grow as a gazebo was built and installed in the garden last week.
The gazebo, which cost about $10,000, was donated by the high school student council and graduating class of 2014.
“It's a great time to be in Hampton Township right now,” said Nancy Evans, a 1974 Hampton graduate and member of the Remembrance Garden committee.
The garden began as a simple idea by the class of 1974 to purchase a bronze statue in memory of deceased classmates.
“We were having committee meetings for the class reunion, and we decided we wanted to do something that would be good for the community and good for the school district. We wanted to remember people from our class,” Evans said. “We thought, let's do something, and it snowballed from there.”
Plans for a garden were developed by architect Donna Merritt, Evans' sister and a 1973 Hampton graduate. The school board approved the proposal in November 2013.
Board vice president Mary Alice Hennessey said when they were first approached with the idea for the statue, they thought it was a great idea, but they liked it even more as it developed into an entire garden and gathering place.
“When the whole plan came together as not only the statue, which is a great representation, but also a memorial area as a place for people to gather that could become part of the school, that was what was really exciting to me,” Hennessey said.
The bronze statue, called “Fly Away,” depicts a girl with her hand outstretched releasing a bird to “honor those who have flown away,” Evans said. The statue sits on a 3-feet-high concrete pedestal and was installed over the summer at the class of 1974's reunion.
The garden, which will ultimately take up a 35-feet-by-45-feet space, sits to the left of the high school's main entrance. A decorative stone wall was installed last month, said garden committee member Scott Docherty, and the gazebo was put in on Oct. 22.
“It's an area to reflect, for kids to study, to go out and have pictures taken at graduation,” Evans said of the garden and gazebo.
The students' involvement with the project by donating the gazebo surprised but pleased committee members.
“That was incredible to have the student council show their support for the project, that brought me to tears when that happened,” Hennessey said.
The garden will continue to grow as more donations roll in, Evans said. There are plans to purchase three bronze benches, put in a curved sidewalk and add trees and flowers to the garden. The committee has raised about $20,000 over the past year, but members are always looking for alumni and student groups to donate time or money to the garden.
People can sponsor a bench or tree, and will eventually be able to purchase engraved paving stones for the sidewalk, Evans said.
For more information, contact Nancy Evans at 412-837-5050.
Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or firstname.lastname@example.org.