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The front of Jackson Elementary, facing Edwinstowe Avenue shows some of the new plantings - resulting from the May 10 volunteer workday - along the walls on either side of the school's main entrance.
Courtesy of Jackson Elementary

School, community volunteers spruce up Jackson Elementary exterior

       About 50 volunteers, including 10 college and high school football players, gave Jackson Elementary a landscaping facelift May 10.

ABOVE: Midway through the project, volunteers are busy pulling out and piling up the old, overgrown junipers in front of the Jackson building. They had not yet gotten to the ones to the right of entrance, allowing a viewing contrast with the "after" photo at the top of this page. BELOW: Adult leaders and youngsters from Jackson/Howbert Cub Scout Pack 6 place decorative rocks beside the access to the parking lot on the north side of the school off Holland Park Boulevard.
Courtesy of Jackson Elementary (above). Westside Pioneer photo (below)
       The result was a spruced-up entrance area, with several new bushes to replace overgrown junipers and a drip-line to water them, plus weeding, decorative-rock placement and general cleanup in other parts of the school property. “It's so gorgeous,” Principal Sara Miller said. “It was a team effort. The school needed a little facelift.”
       Volunteers consisted of school parents, staff and kids of staff; Cub Scout Pack 6, which includes boys from both Jackson and Howbert; seven Air Force and three Coronado footballers, who were assigned the hole-digging and other heavy work; and representatives of two local outdoor businesses - Always Green and RBJ Landscaping, both of which had obtained donated plantings to further enhance their contributions.
       Located at 4340 Edwinstowe Ave., the school serves the Holland Park neighborhood west of I-25 between Garden of the Gods Road and Fillmore Street, as well as (starting this year) an attendance area east of I-25 that it inherited when Lincoln Elementary closed after 2012-13.
       Miller credited Debbie Hankins, a long-time Jackson secretary, for organizing the landscaping project. The principal said the initial spark was District 11 announcing some weeks ago that it had a limited amount of money available for landscaping and inviting schools to write grant requests.
       In the eventual request rankings, Jackson only came in 10th out of 20, “but Debbie did not take well to 'we'll see' for an answer,” Miller chuckled.
       Hankins set out to make it a volunteer project. Part of this involved talking to the landscaping-business owners and working out pro bono plans with them. Energized staff and parents helped by signing up and also referring others. One teacher, for example, “had the email of someone who coordinates AFA volunteers, and she passed that along to me,” Hankins said. “That lady put out the 'opportunity' and these guys answered. Thank goodness they were strong guys, because we had some heavy-duty work for them to do!”
       For the expenses that were necessary, the school was able to set aside some discretionary funds while its parent-teacher organization put in money it had fundraised, Miller said.
       Her hope is that a similar project can be organized next year, possibly to reseed the grass in front and pretty up the school along its south side (facing onto Darby Street).

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 5/16/14; Schools: Jackson Elementary)

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