PIQUA — In this season of caps and gowns, graduation parties and hasty preparations for commencement exercises, Piqua High School has undertaken a project to remember those who didn’t get the chance to make that momentous walk across the stage into the next chapter of their lives.
With funding from a PROTECT grant, a grant from the Piqua Community Foundation, and a donation from the class of 2016, the Student Memorial Garden will honor any Piqua City Schools student who passed away before being able to graduate from PHS beginning in 1981, the year the school opened.
Engraved bricks bearing the students’ names are being installed by Lillicrap Timber and Mulch, and there is no charge for a brick memorializing a deceased student.
To receive a memorial brick, the student must have been enrolled in a Piqua school when a confirmed death occurred. A student also may receive a brick if she or he passed away prior to Aug. 31 of their graduation year.
For those wondering what became of the old memorial, Superintendent Dwayne Thompson said, “The old memorial was difficult to see due to the location. It also had a number of plants (bushes and trees) that had overgrown in the area and was beginning to overshadow the memorials.”
Consequently, the new memorial will be located in a more visible place, with plants that will not overtake the area.
Over the years, students have been remembered in different ways at different school sites. Some had trees planted in their memory, while others were memorialized by various types of markers. When the former school sites closed, it was decided that it would be best to have one district memorial garden at PHS, where the students would have graduated, Thompson explained.
“Since the older garden on site needed so much work, and it didn’t have much space to add more names, we thought it would be nice to create a new garden that could include any student that would have graduated from the current Piqua High School. This allows us to create a uniform way to remember these students,” he added.
“If there was a marker for a student at the old memorial garden, we have saved them and will be happy to give them to parents of the deceased students. If there are no parents to claim the marker, we will be happy to give it to grandparents or siblings.”
Reach Belinda M. Paschal at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3341