MANCHESTER – The fallen members of the school community should never be forgotten, and the memorial to them has now been restored and rededicated.
The Manchester Township High School Fallen Hawks Memorial Garden was created in 2012 by members of the Class of 2014. In recent years the garden has been closed off to students but Peer Leadership Seminar students took on the project of restoring, improving and reopening the garden which is located in an interior courtyard of the high school.
The students refreshed the landscaping and added plaques on the wall for all of the Fallen Hawks. They also made a video explaining the project and created a bulletin board with photos and information about each of the students and staff members memorialized in the garden.
They even met virtually with the original creators from the Class of 2014 to discuss their plans.
The project video states, “we are renovating the garden not only to revive the space and bring life back to it but also to keep the memories of the blessed souls alive that once walked these halls just like you.”
“This space will be open and available for all students as an addition to make it easier to get around the building. Also, it can provide a breath of fresh air which is much needed in between classes. It is very important to respect this space especially for those that we have lost,” it added.
“We are hoping to keep this tradition alive as we remember the Fallen Hawks that were once a part of our school community,” it concluded.
Principal Dennis Adams said the rededication ceremony took place after school in the courtyard with the Leadership students and many staff members attending despite a light rain. He explained the project and thanked everyone involved both from 2014 and this year.
Adams added, “we are going to invite some of the parents and members of the family of the fallen hawks to come to this space at graduation or any time that they feel that they want to and this is going to be something that all of Manchester Township High School can respect and be a part of. So we thank you for their memories that will continue to live on at the Hawk’s nest.”
Leadership Seminar Teacher, Sarah Paturzo, said she is very proud of the students for taking on the project and then sticking to it when it ‘took on a life of its own’ and became a much bigger job than they expected.
“Thank you guys for your hard work and dedication,” she told the students.
The garden memorializes students and staff who passed away while attending or working at MTHS. They are:
George Simmons – Class of 1983
Charles Redd – Class of 1984
Juvandy Kinchen – Class of 1985
Heather Johnson – Class of 2004
Bernadette Flanagan – Class of 2006
Francesca Previti – Class of 2014
Trevor Martin – Class of 2014
Denasia Davis – Class of 2016
Kesse Akil Francis – Class of 2017
Mollie Sue Belasco – Class of 2018
John Behan – Superintendent
Thomas Fousty – History Teacher
Helen Benjamin – Spanish Teacher
Tara Gardner – English Teacher
The Peer Leadership students involved in the project were: Madison Degnan, Emily Barron, Helena Staples, Crystal Kilfeather, Elizabeth Oliver, Nicholas Isphording, Kelly Feehan, Ally Nielson, Caitlyn Huston, Isabella Orpilla, Camryn Sims, Destiny Adams, Karina Camarena, Marley Petti, Derrin Smith and Danielle Gaughran.