Serving Our Peers and Community • South High Community School • Worcester, MA

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The Colonel Chronicle

The Colonel Chronicle

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There’s a Memorial at South and You’ve Probably Never Seen It

The stone plaque in front of the garden.
Levi Kasten
The stone plaque in front of the garden.

Hidden just outside the corner of the sports field is a stone plaque that says “A Living Garden in Memorial of our Deceased Classmates”. Behind it you will find some large gray pots filled with a variety of plant life. I discovered this area during a gym class outside, and I had no idea it was there before. I hadn’t heard anyone mention it before, and I never really noticed anything over there. My intrigue got the better of me – I had to know the history behind this memorial.

There are no names in the garden as it is not dedicated to any specific students. (Levi Kasten)

I started by emailing Ms. Houlihan, my assistant principal. She didn’t know anything about it, but she said to try Ms. Papadopoulos. The only thing she knew was that it went way back, but otherwise, to try emailing Mr. Creamer for information. So, I emailed Mr. Creamer. Here is what he said:

“Hi Levi, I am not totally sure either. My thinking is it is a way to honor students who have passed away.”

To be honest, I was starting to feel pretty disheartened at this point. I was surprised that the principal of the school didn’t even know at least who was keeping the garden. 

I was about ready to start putting up flyers begging for information on the garden, but my teacher gave me a last resort option – if anyone knew something about the garden, it would be former Worcester Public Schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda. So, with the help of my teacher, I got Ms. Binienda’s email address and sent her an email, mildly begging for any information she has at all.

The garden is tended to by the custodial staff. (Levi Kasten)

Thankfully, she actually knew about what I was talking about. She said that that the garden has been at South for over 20 years, and that it, “began to honor students who passed away while they were students at South High or within a few years after graduating,” and that, “we would have prayer services led by a religious leader at the site during the days immediately following the death of the student.” She says that there aren’t any names on the garden as it is a, “universal remembrance of all those who lost their lives too soon.” Additionally, she mentioned a memorial bench at South that honors Amber Renzoni, a South High teacher that died in a car accident in 2003.

As for who maintains the garden, the job of keeping the garden clean and free of weeds falls to the custodians, and not any one garden keeper.

The garden is beautiful, and while many of the plants will be dead by now, because of the winter, the message remains – and the plants will grow again in the spring. If you’d like to see it, use the crosswalk outside of the school’s main entrance to cross to the stone plaza, and it’s on the left next to the soccer field and some red South High benches.

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