DELHI TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Students arriving at Delshire Elementary School on Monday will discover the grass, concrete and weeds that once framed its entrance replaced with mulch and bright flowers. The transformation is the work of teachers, students, Duke Energy workers and township police officers who pitched in to give the space a makeover.
"It just makes your heart feel full just to see how many people care about the school," fifth grade science and social studies teacher Lauren Heugel said.
The project started with her. Students in a school book club had begun reading about a community garden that helped neighbors connect with one another, and their interest inspired her to make it real. She called florists, parent-teacher association members, city officials and Duke Energy to help gather the necessary supplies and manpower.
Lt. Jeff Braun said he and other city police officers jumped at the chance.
"Any chance we get to work with kids, it's probably more impactful for us than it is for the kids," he said. "A lot of times, when we interact with people, it's on a not-so-good atmosphere. I think it gives us an opportunity to work with the kids to show them we are true, real people, too."
Also lending a helping hand were firefighters, the Delhi Township Parks and Recreation department and members of the township's board of trustees.
Heugel said she was surprised and thrilled to see so many people helping brighten her students' walk up to school.
"Being a community is not always the easier thing, but it's nice to see different people and how you can come together over something so easy," she said. "I just can't wait to see the kids' faces when they come back to school and see all this landscaping."