Go Green Day – A Proud GWHS Tradition
For the last ten years, the GWHS community has come together on a Saturday in April to accomplish major upgrades to the outdoor campus. The tradition started in 2008. A group of parents had recently formed the GW Grounds Committee to plan improvements to GW’s huge outdoor campus. GW has one of the largest public school footprints in the state, but years of budget-cutting had left the grounds sorely in need of some love. The first major project of the Grounds Committee was to plant 14 trees and clear the boxes in the South Courtyard, which were filled with thigh-high weeds and lots of trash. The Committee gathered 125 student, teacher, administration, and alumni volunteers. The students included student leaders, athletes, students seeking community service hours, special education students, and many other groups from the student body. The day was hugely successful and great fun, ending with pizza for lunch – and a GW tradition began.
Every year since, the GW community has completed an annual April outdoor campus project on what the Grounds Committee now calls Go Green Day. Over this time, volunteers have added over 80 trees of various species to the grounds, and have transformed the planting beds on the north, south, and east of the building. As part of a student-initiated project, volunteers planted an orchard, which thrives on the Leetsdale side of campus and has already produced some fruit. The Committee also planned and participated in several years of projects which transformed the north entrance to the school. This door to the school was designed over fifty years ago and was primarily intended to be a loading dock. The Grounds Committee added a gateway, planting beds, and lighting, which makes arrival at the school a much more enjoyable experience than it was before the improvements. Last April, volunteers did the major, final work installing a community garden by the greenhouse. Plots are used by the Grow Club, the DPS Garden of Youth program, and community members who rent plots.
Each Go Green Day has generated lots of memories for members of the GW Grounds Committee and volunteers who have participated. The one that stands out most forcefully in my mind was in April 2009 when a wet blizzard shut down the Denver Digs Trees distribution. We decided to forge ahead and planted 15 trees that day! We were so proud of our valiant volunteers, and I am sure each will always remember which tree they planted on that snowy day. Almost always, however, the weather gods are with us and we enjoy our pizza lunch outdoors in sunshine.
The Grounds Committee is gearing up for its eleventh April outdoor campus event on April 21, 2018. The morning starts at 8:00am and ends with pizza at 12:30pm. Stay tuned for sign-up information. The Committee would love to have help from students, student groups, teachers, staff, alumni, and community members. Go Green Day will be one of your all-time favorite service projects, and you will see the results at GW every time you pass by!