The vision that will become “Denny's Place” on the Hope Academy of Public Service campus is taking shape through an outpouring of volunteer service and community support.

The vision that will become “Denny’s Place” on the Hope Academy of Public Service campus is taking shape through an outpouring of volunteer service and community support.
The outdoor science garden and classroom space that was begun at the close of the Fall, 2017, semester is nearing completion for an anticipated dedication soon after the start of fall classes in August.
Nan Wright, one of the guiding spirits of the project through the Hempstead County Master Gardener volunteers who have embraced the project, said during a recent work day that setting the “paver stones” for the central configuration of the garden space is the last major part of the project.
And, there are dozens of the brightly-decorated stones that will be set, each representing a $5 donation or $20 donation for groups of five, to financially support the construction and operation of the educational space.
The purchase of gardening tools and implements for student use in producing selected crops will outfit the project, along with the donation of “vintage” tools and implements for historical perspective.
Students will operate the garden space in support of providing fresh vegetables to the local Hope in Action food pantry. And, teachers at HAPS will develop lesson plans around the educational disciplines involved in the construction and operation of the space.
HAPS teacher Melissa Ellis said the project has been awarded a $1,600 inter-disciplinary grant from Pacon Creative Products as one of three winners of a company-sponsored competition.
“Students will be able to synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to construct a garden/structure,” Ellis wrote in the grant essay. “Denny Dickinson, a former school board member and vital member of our community passed away September 20, 2017. The impact of his life on others and the community was tremendous as he touched many lives and hearts.”
The designation of the project as “Denny’s Place” grew out of the student and community response to Dickinson’s commitment to public education, Ellis said.
“His passion for the cattle industry was just as strong as his passion for our educational system,” she stated. “The Hope Academy of Public Service was able to break ground and create the perfect spot to design and name our garden honoring Denny Dickinson for his life and dedication for our Hope School District.”
Students will design project models representing the use of the outdoor space incorporating science, art, math and literacy skills into the development of their projects, which will be facilitated through the use of the Pacon grant.
Six planting spaces will surround the central configuration on the site in the shape of the letter “H” and a covered “outdoor classroom” with two 4x4 storage units and benches will complete the total project.