May 25, 2021 -- At Sherwood Middle School, the pain of young students, past and present, losing their lives too soon due to violence is real and something teachers and staff deal with every day. But now, through art and collaboration, all eighth-grade classrooms have worked together to create the Sherwood Middle School peace garden as a way to process the pain positively.
“During the pandemic, it was definitely more challenging to deal with the death of a student because we weren’t together,” said eighth-grade teacher Allison Irvin. “Now that we are back in school, we thought getting outside, working in the garden was a safe and healthy way to help our students process young lives lost too soon.”
At the front entrance of Sherwood Middle School, you can’t miss the large, three, twelve by twelve concrete planters filled with fresh mulch and now dozens of freshly painted and decorated circularly concrete slabs.
“Aren’t they beautiful?” beams eighth-grade teacher Danielle Enoch. “Oh, look at those glittery stones a student just added to his peace marker this morning. I just love what this peace garden represents. We have shown our students through art how we can process our pain together and honor these students.”
Eighth-grader Tanija Falls is proud of her artwork in the garden. She made a peace symbol out of blue stones then painted the concrete white, purple and blue.
“I knew one of the students who passed away,” said Falls. “His favorite color was blue, so that’s why I made sure to use blue on mine. I look at this peace garden as a sign of hope, a way to do better in life.”
Anthony Villanueva didn’t know any of the students who are honored in this garden.
“While I didn’t know them personally, this garden is about respect and a reminder of the crazy stuff in our world,” said eighth-grader Villanueva.
Along with hand-made concrete stones the students created, the teachers have also made a wooden sign for the garden. It reads, “We carry your love and spirit every day. Although we are apart, we are here to honor our forever eagles always in our hearts.”