BY KAREN SUROS
Students may have taken note of the newest addition to Cooper City High School’s landscape: a Jacaranda tree surrounded by a heart of flora, in honor of the late English teacher Nicole Hobin.
Hobin Garden Day took place Wednesday, November 14 after school. The event was the product of a collaboration between outside organizations and Cooper City High School headed by Key Club. Attendees were advised to bring their own gloves in case things got messy.
Key Club’s Wednesday meeting kicked off with a series of announcements and a call for 10 volunteers to take part in gardening. Once the volunteers filed outside, Key Club sponsor Fallan Patterson explained the process. Junior Justin Rushetsky gave instructions, affirming details like working from the inside-out and being careful.
To quench hunger and thirst, pizza, cookies and soda were sold. All the proceeds went toward the Hobin Scholarship, another way that CCHS paid homage to Hobin in every detail of the day.
Rushetsky’s father’s company, Garden Time Incorporated, supplied the plants, mulch and the design. The gardening actually commenced Sunday, when Rushetsky and his father shaped the heart encompassing the tree trunk.
“Honestly I’m really happy to do this for her,” Rushetsky said. “She did a lot for me.”
“I like this opportunity to help create Ms. Hobin’s garden,” freshman Yumna Umar said.
The actual idea of a garden came from a list of ideas thought up after Hobin’s passing, whose contributors included Patterson and Key Club President Gabby Carbone. It was Carbone who suggested a garden to commemorate her love of nature.
“It feels really great that I have the power to orchestrate something like this,” Carbone said. “I went to the Hobin meeting and heard a lot of great ideas and I was like, ‘I need to make sure mine is heard as well.’”
Also particularly instrumental in this event was Head Custodian, Jamie Curran, who supplied the centerpiece that is the Jacaranda tree from a local arborist, and went through the process of planting it.
With over a dozen plants, a singular shovel and a blazing sun above, the volunteers had their work cut out for them. However, they made the best of the situation, cracking jokes and keeping Ms. Hobin in their minds as they toiled away.
An important factor in the gardening was the placement; just one plant out of place could throw off the entire garden. Therefore, volunteers had to take into consideration where the plants should go to optimize space and then confirming their position before patting it in.
“I like this opportunity to help create Ms. Hobin’s garden,” freshman Yumna Umar said. “Because it’s good for the environment and it’s also a great way to remember Ms. Hobin and all she did for our school.”
Furthermore, it was a matter of trial and error. Often plants were re-adjusted to assure that everything was absolutely perfect.
“I’m happy it came together and it looks beautiful.”
Wednesday’s work may not even be the final project but, as it is, the Jacaranda tree and its accompanying plants serve as a memorial to Hobin, a symbol of all that she stood for. Through this tree, CCHS honors Ms. Hobin’s wish of becoming a tree after passing; although she is buried elsewhere, her presence may always be felt on campus.
“I feel like everyone wants to do something but everyone feels powerless at the same time,” Carbone said. “I’m happy it came together and it looks beautiful.”
Photo by Carly Cuoco