LHS, Miller Create Wellness Walkway

Lowndes High School students teamed up with Miller Hardware Company Seasons Garden Center to repurpose old planters creating a Wellness Walkway on campus.

Instructors Olivia Fletcher and Leslie Whiddon teach with many goals in mind, most notably preparing students for the future and promoting mental wellness, school officials said in a statement, adding sprucing up the walkway would accomplish both.

“Promoting mental health has been a goal for us campus-wide,” Whiddon said.

The mental health initiative began last year when the school participated in a T-shirt fundraiser backed by Greater Valdosta United Way. The shirt design and profit supported projects with positive impacts around the school.

“With construction on the new school taking place, maintaining the planters had fallen, and they no longer looked appealing,” Whiddon said. “Since we often use that outdoor space, we thought cleaning up and restoring them might be a practical way to create a beautiful space for everyone.”

Fletcher and Whiddon reached out to Miller Hardware Company Seasons Garden Center in hopes for guidance on plants and material and “were pleasantly surprised with their kindness and commitment,” school officials said.

Marty Ellison, director of retail sales for Miller Hardware, and his team donated labor and materials to help the students complete their project.

“They took the idea and ran,” Whiddon said. “Not only did they donate the plants, but they also physically loaded them up, brought them to us, and worked hard to make the Wellness Walkway perfect for our students.”

“We tried to make it as easy as possible for the students and their teachers to create the best space possible,” Ellison said. “Like with any other customer, we took their wishes then we did the figuring and labor.”

Seasons employees Tanner Cash and Renae Duncan restored and filled the planters. The students will maintain and service them, which will teach them functional employment skills to assist them when they graduate, school officials said.

“When it comes to giving back, we like to put our support into our local community,” Ellison adds. “We love to be involved in any way we can with both school systems and other organizations in the area.”

Miller Hardware Company is a partner at large serving both Lowndes County Schools and Valdosta City Schools in the Community Partners in Education program.

“The purpose of Community Partners in Education is to encourage greater student achievement by developing partnerships between our schools and local businesses,” said Lauren Pope, director of public relations for Lowndes County Schools. “Seasons Garden Center is just one great example of an organization that is committed to local students, their education, and wellbeing.”


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