By Christopher Smith
Southeast Whitfield High School student Brooke Rushing said Crossroads Academy is “bleak and bare.” From the outside, the brick building’s most prominent feature is an asphalt parking lot, she said.
That’s why Rushing and several other Future Farmers of America (FFA) students from Southeast went out Thursday and Friday morning with wheelbarrows, shovels, dirt and plants at the academy.
“This place needs to be pretty,” Rushing said.
Crossroads is a school on Airport Road that aims to educate students of all grades from Dalton Public Schools and Whitfield County Schools who have been sent there for poor behavior. When a student has shown progress with behavior the student returns to his or her home school.
“But this school is no different than Southeast High School or Northwest High School,” FFA student Timmy Carter said. “These students are no different and they could use a nicer exterior. Whitfield County Schools has got to stick together and that’s what we’re doing.”
Senior Sergio Reyes, president of FFA, said doing the landscaping on the front of the academy is experience that’s hard to find for most high school students.
“This is a nursing landscaping class and a lot of students showed interest in a career in this and this lets us actually experience it,” he said. “We’re planting, spacing the plants right and putting them into place, mixing soil, potting them in. We also added mulch and put solar lights down.”
The solar lights will help grow the plants by providing artificial sunlight in all seasons and weather conditions, Reyes said.
Crossroads Academy Principal Donna Harris said the work looked “awesome.”
“I think what they’ve done is great,” she said. “This really gives them the real world experience they want and it really makes the outside of the school look better.”