Club project to spruce up Ferdinand school

Kaiti Sullivan/The Herald
Forest Park High School junior Issac Fuhrman, left, Todd Andry of Birdseye, math teacher Lavina Schwartz and sophomore Wyatt Fleck work on the landscaping at Forest Park Junior-Senior High School in Ferdinand on Tuesday. Andry is the owner of the landscaping company, American DreamScapes, and has donated his time to help the group. "We wouldn't be able to do this without them," Schwartz said. "It's really great that they're helping."


FERDINAND — Forest Park High School sophomore Wyatt Fleck plunged a pickaxe into the ground near the junior-senior high school’s entrance. Nearby, other members of the school’s Community Impact Club dug up old plants, and others watered the plants club members planted last week.

The students gave up attending a pep session to put work into the beginning stages of the club’s landscaping project that will, they hope, transform the appearance of the school’s west and northwest sides over the next few years. Wyatt is heading up the project as a project manager since he has landscaping experience.

The end goal is to create an atmosphere at the school’s main entrance that brightens people’s spirits as they walk in.

“We want to spruce up the school,” said junior Luke Brosmer. “Right now it looks kind of dull outside.”

Forest Park High School seniors Jade Anderson, left, and Elizabeth Brown pull out old plants at the school in Ferdinand on Tuesday. They are a part of the Community Impact Club that is renovating the landscaping at the front of the school.

The club’s idea to landscape the school grounds came up last spring, but when Todd Andry of American DreamScapes, who is partnering with the club on the project, said fall is better for landscaping, the manual labor on the project went on hold. Fundraising for the project, however, went into high gear. Seniors Jade Anderson and Elizabeth Brown headed that up.

The fundraising turned out to be no small task. Even with the 39 members of the Community Impact Club doing most of the labor themselves, the first phase of the project — which covers the west side of the school — is estimated to cost about $2,500 in materials. The current design calls for topsoil, landscaping stone, a weed barrier, boulders, edging and plants. The plants alone are estimated to cost $1,000. Club sponsor Lavina Schwartz said the students have picked out a few species, but what other plants are added really depends on how donations go.

So far, the students have raised $1,400 and collected some material donations. Anyone interested in donating can contact Schwartz at or mail checks to Forest Park, 1440 Michigan St., Ferdinand.

The plan is to finish work on the west side of the building by the end of November. From there, the students will move to the northwest side of the building for phase two and finish the project with work on the courtyard for phase three. The goal is to complete one phase per year, but that schedule depends on fundraising.

The scope of the project has been daunting at times. The landscaping is the largest project the club has undertaken since its founding in 1993. Throughout the years, the club has managed the school’s paper and plastic recycling programs, which are time consuming in their own rights, Schwartz said. But in the last few years, students have wanted to expand the club’s reach. They’ve participated in German American Bank’s Clean Sweep event a few times and helped build a disc golf course at Ferdinand’s 18th Street Park. Now, they’re turning their attention back to their school to complete the landscaping that members say the student body has wanted for a while.

“Hopefully it’ll make people happier as they come into the school,” senior Griffin Flowers said.

No matter how much time or work the landscaping project takes, club members agree it will be worth it.

Forest Park High School sophomore Wyatt Fleck uses a tiller to grind up dirt after school at Forest Park Junior-Senior High School in Ferdinand on Tuesday. Fleck is a member of the community impact club that is working on the landscape.

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