White doves and bamboo now decorate a once unoccupied corner of CCHS, transforming a patch of dirt and rocks into a peaceful escape for all to enjoy. The Zen garden is finally open for business after months of planning, preparation and hard work. The ribbon cutting ceremony took place on May 9 to celebrate its opening and recognize the students and faculty involved in this large-scale project.
The opening ceremony celebrated the progress of the garden and marked its official opening. A video of the garden’s transformation was played while Sophia Pera, Victoria Pera and Tyrele Addereley performed “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Afterwards, a raffle took place to win an orchid, packages of tea, a candle, a Starbucks gift card and a mug.
“It was an honor to be part of this opening,” Sophia Pera said. “For the many hours working on it, I get to see the beautiful outcome. The Zen garden is a truly a place which stands for what all the world should be.”
“The Zen garden is a truly a place which stands for what all the world should be.”
The Zen garden is a project initiated and completed by the CCHS Interact Club, with contributions from other students and clubs along the way. Beginning as a way for the Interact Club to fulfill their duties of giving back to the community, the garden has grown into a section of the school packed with meaning and importance for many students.
“I think the garden grew into so much more than just a club project when so many people came out and put their hard work into it,” Interact Club President Lauren Nassi said. “I think that they’re the ones who will set a precedent for the future to keep the garden clean and nice so that it can continue to grow.”
While the garden is meant to provide students, visitors and staff with a place where they can go to destress and enjoy a peaceful environment, it also exists as a tribute to the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting. A plaque will be added to solidify this tribute, displaying the victims’ names in remembrance.
One of the walls displays a mural painted by Art Club Secretary Sierra Decker. Featuring white doves and ribbons to represent peace, the mural is meant to spread a message of love, unity and tolerance between students. Over the next few weeks, this mural is expected to be added to, with more art ideas in the works for the adjacent wall.
“The garden grew into so much more than just a club project when so many people came out and put their hard work into it.”
“The garden means a lot to me because the tragedy at Douglas hit really close to my heart and impacted a lot of other students too,” Nassi said. “I think that the mural and the garden will really bring our community together.”
Along with the mural, the garden is decorated with sticks of bamboo and a rock labyrinth in the center. Throughout the rest of the school year and for years to come, the garden will continue to be worked on and added to.
“The Zen garden is going to be an awesome thing that hopefully keeps growing,” Interact Club Sponsor Steve Franzone said. “We’re hoping that we can continue to maintain and add to it and get contributions from other clubs too. It started as just a community project for the club but it’s blossomed into something really special.”
Photo by Ryan Sullivan