Thursday, January 14, 2016—a day to plant trees again at Tennyson High School in Hayward, California.
Last year, with funding from the Hayward Education Foundation, Tennyson put in for 12 trees to adorn their campus. The nursery that supplied them liked the idea, and gave them 12 more; thus 24 new trees were planted to grace the grounds of this Hayward school.
This year, art teacher Ann Lester, with support from Principal Lori Villanueva, applied for an additional grant from the National Football League. The N.F.L. also liked the idea, and granted Tennyson $5,000, enough for 25 more trees and drip watering irrigation systems.
Today then was a day for Ms. Lester’s Art Design students to push wheelbarrows, drive shovels into the rich Tennyson soil, empty the new holes, refill with topsoil, and trees—Chinese Pistach and Elm this time. The last step? Use shovels and excess soil to create a circle mound around each tree to retain water.
And last year, not one tree died, despite the drought, showing that Head Groundskeeper Rafael Morales and the staff and students take good care of Tennyson.
According to Principal Villanueva, the beauty of a school sets the climate for the school, and that climate includes cleanliness, good behavior, pride in the school, and of course, motivation to learn.
With the help of groundskeeper Morales, and the leadership of enthusiastic teachers such as Ann Lester and Melissa Morris, and grants from H.E.F. and the N.F.L., Principal Villanueva is turning Tennyson into a tree-lined educational park.