By Sam Wildow
PLEASANT HILL — A partnership between the Newton High School Class of 1972 and current NHS seniors reached its goal on Friday with the dedication of Newton Local Schools’ new greenhouse on Friday.
The class of 1972 has been working with the district and the class of 2022 for approximately the past five years to plan, raise funds, and construct an 800-square-foot, climate-controlled greenhouse.
Superintendent Pat McBride said the class of 1972 approached him with wanting to do something special for the 50th anniversary of its graduation. The class of 1972 then partnered with the class of 2022 to come up with an idea of what to gift to the district that would also be of use for future students.
“The idea for this greenhouse came from the class of 2022,” McBride said.
“I’m really pleased,” David Phipps, president of the class of 1972, said on Friday. Phipps, Chuck Martin, and other members of the class of 1972 were inspired to do this gift after seeing alumni from a college give a gift of that size on the 50th anniversary of its graduation. The majority of the donations for the $60,000 greenhouse came from the class of 1972.
McBride said this project shows that even when students graduate and leave the district, there are always opportunities to give back and impact future generations of students.
“We hope the class of 2022 will pay it forward 50 years from now,” McBride said.
Sage Coker and Clint Shellenberger — NHS seniors and the secretary and president, respectively, of the Newton-UVCC FFA Chapter — said they have been working on this project with the class of 1972 since they were in eighth grade and felt accomplished to be reaching this point.
“It’s always just been an idea until now,” Coker said. They said the class of 2022 chose a greenhouse for the educational benefit it will give to the district as it can be utilized by the FFA, as well as by the agricultural and science classes.
“I’m excited to see where this takes us in the future,” Coker said.
Shellenberger thanked the class of 1972 and McBride for their work in getting the greenhouse to the district, awarding McBride with an Honorary FFA Member award.
“It’s been very meaningful to all of us,” Shellenberger said about the greenhouse.