VALE — With the school year well underway, many Vale residents have probably noticed that the front of Vale High School got a much-needed trim this summer. This was thanks to the help of the 2019-20 Associated Student Body members.
In late June, the student leaders, along with other students and community members, met in front of the high school to tear up all of the vegetation. During the first week of classes this month, new rock was put down in its place, a water system was installed and new plants have been planted.
According to senior Brianna Beesley, who is this year’s student body president, the project came up late last school year as some didn’t like the look of the previous plants that were there.
“Just a lot of us students and the teachers, we’ve all seen that the front area was overgrown and not really being maintained,” Beesley said. “And that’s all gone now.”
Beesley said that part of the project was sparked by seeing how nice the new Vale Middle School was just behind the high school. With the middle-schoolers getting their brand new facility, she said it was only fair to spruce up the high school’s look a little bit.
“It really made the high school look a little bit out of date,” Beesley said.
Vale High School Principal Mary Jo Sharp said she was a little nervous about the students doing a project of such scale during the summer, and even talked to the student leaders about scaling back the project a little bit, but she was happy to see the outcome.
The students took out the tree that sat in front of Sharp’s office window, and replaced it with a new one.
When asked about the big summer project, Beesley said she never hesitated about taking on the landscaping.
“When I see something that’s not being taken care of, I just have to go and take care of it,” she said. “That’s how I was raised by my parents and by Vale.”
But it wasn’t just the high school student leaders who did the project. Beesley said they got the support from a lot of other people that made the work go by quickly.
“A lot of community members, they offered their time and support. I was just so pleased to see that and to be a part of this,” she said. “It’s exactly what Viking Pride is.”
Beesley said she also learned a lot about herself in the process, including future jobs that she’s hoping to avoid.
“I’ll tell you, I don’t want to be a landscaper and I don’t want to go into maintenance,” she said, laughing.
For her senior project, Beesley said she wants to go to the elementary school and teach a character-building class. The class will culminate in the elementary students working together to make a new mural to add to Vale’s iconic trail of murals.
Beesley, who wants to major in psychology in college, said that she wants to teach the students about character-building and how the choices they make do matter.
She said she has already met with the Vale Chamber of Commerce and the Vale Heritage Reflections Mural Society about the project. Beesley said her students’ mural would be in a newly renovated building across from Les Schwab.