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Contributed by Natalie H. Pope

In collaboration with the Parent Teacher Organization and FFA Chapter, Harrells Christian Academy recently completed the construction of their first outdoor classroom.  The tandem effort was spearheaded by PTO President Stacey Hardison and FFA advisor Lindsay Matthews.  They formed an alliance providing manpower and resources to achieve a completed project now appropriately named Crusader Courtyard. The student-led project got hands dirty with ground preparation and a brick-by-brick custom-laid brick paver foundation. FFA officers and parents worked diligently to complete patio construction during the 2020 Christmas Holiday break.

The Crusader Courtyard is fully furnished with octagonal picnic-style tables and umbrellas provided by a grant from NC Outdoor Heritage Advisory Council’s  NC Schools Go Outside (GO) Grant.  According to the Council’s website, the NC General Assembly established the Advisory Council in 2015 “to get more kids outdoors.”  Elizabeth Griffin, Assistant Head of School, stated, “Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, outdoor classroom space is in high demand and greatly appreciated. We are grateful for our PTO and FFA having the vision to create such a functional space for our students.”

During National FFA Week, the new courtyard was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting on February 24th and immediately put to good use.  Lower School students enjoyed an outdoor lesson led by FFA club members and horticulture students. Fourth-grader, Chance Evans likes the courtyard and he said, “It’s so fun to be outside!”

Ribbon Cutting

Pictured left to right:  Olivia Matthews, Taylor Lucas, Kolby Jessup, Harrison DeVane, Beth Griffin, Stacey Hardison, Rylee Pope, Lindsay Matthews, Georgia Farrior, Will Swanson, Laura Catherine Glover, Natalie Cline.