To The Daily Sun,
I would like to take a moment to express my deep and sincere gratitude to everyone who supported the Inter-Lakes Elementary School "Living Classroom" greenhouse project. Thanks to the tremendous support of many organizations and individuals, the Living Classroom now stands as a testament to the power of a strong and supportive community.
The Living Classroom promises to serve as an exciting hands-on learning venue for students in grades PK-6 now and into the future. It will be a place where students will learn many different things in a "hands-on" manner. It will be a place where students will learn with their sleeves rolled up and their hands in the soil. It will be a place where we will plant the seeds of knowledge in a different way.
A year ago, we started our quest to raise $65,000 with the dream of building a fully operating year-round greenhouse. I must admit, I know very little about construction and I'm not much of a gardener. But what I do know is that students become highly engaged and motivated when they are actively involved in their learning.
As our greenhouse vision started to form, I knew that I needed people who knew things that I didn't. In the blink of an eye, a team of supporters and volunteers began to emerge. Chris Read, a master builder and master gardener immediately embraced the idea and he infused his impressive construction and gardening skills into the project. Chris was the driving force and visionary behind the subterranean heating system that will extend the growing season in the greenhouse. He has donated countless hours, building and creating the solar heating system that makes our greenhouse so unique.
Inter-Lakes School Board member Lisa Merrill was one of the biggest supporters of the project from the very start. She immediately saw the value of educating students in a different way. She was also the force behind our first marketing campaign: the Flamingo Fundraiser and she provided tremendous momentum for the project. I am grateful that the Inter-Lakes School Board and district administration also embraced the greenhouse concept. The board pledged $20,000 to the project.
I owe a huge thank you to Justin Poehler, a former Inter-Lakes student and the owner/operator of SiteScapes of the Lakes Region. Justin arrived on the scene volunteering to do all of the site work for the project. As I mentioned, I don't know much about construction and little did I know just how important Justin's work would be to the project. He donated many hours and days, excavating, filling, and grading. He created the perfect site for our greenhouse. Justin Poehler is one of the true heroes of this project and I am eternally grateful for all that he did.
I also owe a debt of gratitude to Steve Mitchell, an Inter-Lakes parent, and owner/operator of Nature's Elite Landscaping. Steve approached me and volunteered to donate all of the brick pavers as well as his time and labor, to create a beautiful walkway inside the greenhouse. He even involved his sons, Brandon and Kyle (both Inter-Lakes students), in the project. The results are stunning.
Our Inter-Lakes maintenance department has been wonderfully supportive of this project. Chris Wald (Director of Facilities) has been involved in all of the planning and construction every step of the way and this project would not have been possible without his guidance and expertise. Inter-Lakes Maintenance staff members Stuart Benton and Jason Cornelissen have also been incredibly helpful.
There are so many other people and businesses that made the dream of the Living Classroom possible.
East Coast Foundation donated all of the labor, forms, and rebar needed for the foundation. Brian Davis of Planet Green donated two large solar panels. Randy Hancock of Middleton Building & Supply donated a split rail fence. Superior Fence Company donated their services to install the fence. Bill Doten of Doten's Property Service donated hydro-seeding for the project. J.P. Swift donated labor and ground cover for the interior of the greenhouse. Ambrose Bros. donated significant amounts of sand, ledge pack, crushed stone, and gravel. Dallas Wrath of Donovan Tree Experts donated tree cutting so that the sun shines brightly on the greenhouse.
In addition to all of the individuals already named, the Living Classroom received a tremendous amount of financial assistance from individuals, service organizations, and businesses throughout the area. I am deeply grateful to Mill Falls on the Lake and the Meredith Rotary Club for each donating $10,000. These massive donations made the difference in helping us reach our goal. I am truly humbled by this level of generosity and support.
While the entire list of donors is far too extensive to include in this letter, I would like to highlight those that had a major impact on this project including: Altrusa Club of Meredith, Cerutti Contracting, Conneston Construction Inc., Crosspoint Associates, DeCamp Center, Emery & Garrett Groundwater Investigations, Giuseppe's Showtime Pizzeria, Inter-Lakes Floor Hockey, Inter-Lakes PTO, Inter-Lakes Education Assoc., Inter-Lakes School Board, Kiwanis Club of Meredith, Melcher & Prescott Insurance, Meredith Bay Laser, Meredith Bay Village Condominium Assoc., Meredith Garden Club, Meredith Fire Dept. Auxiliary, Meredith Village Savings Bank, Municipal Resources, Inc., Overhead Door Options, Phu Jee Chinese Cuisine, Private Weddings & Events, Real Green Lawn & Landscape, Sandwich Central School PTO, the Schmitt Foundation, Scott Burns Landscaping, Shane Halsey Painting, The Mug Restaurants, Winnipesaukee Playhouse, and Wicwas Lake Grange 292.
Last by not least, I would like to acknowledge and thank some key people who played important roles in the overall project including Elizabeth Rohdenberg for creating the fantastic Living Classroom Logo, Kay Marini for creating the beautiful thank you notes, Corinne Jutton for distributing donation letters to area businesses, Alesia Parks for helping every step of the way, Lynn Tobin for creating the traveling display panel, Mo Gouin for creating donation boxes and a fundraising backdrop, Jim and Sheri MacMillan for creating the fundraising thermometer and the name banner, John Moulton for his expert consultation and advice, and our fearless team of Flamingo Flockers including: Steve and Lisa Merrill, Marcy Kelley, Alesia Parks, Kristen Poehler, Tricia Poehler, Tracey Pratt, Ariane Shuffleton, and Angela Stutzman.
In closing, I would again like to express my deepest gratitude to everyone who helped make the Living Classroom possible. This project demonstrates the power of a supportive community and what volunteerism and goodwill can achieve. I am so very proud to be a resident of the Inter-Lakes School District and a part of the Inter-Lakes School system. We are all fortunate to live in a very special place filled with caring, positive, and generous people. Thank you for allowing Inter-Lakes Elementary School to achieve a dream and for giving us the opportunity to plant the seeds of knowledge in a different way.
Dr. Steve Kelley, Principal
Inter-Lakes Elementary School
- Category: Letters
- Hits: 290