Just the Facts

Franklin Garden Club + student involvement = beautification

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Anna Waskey

Readers: You may have noticed some beautification efforts throughout the town of Franklin and not realized that Franklin High School (FHS) students were at least partly responsible for one aspect of those labors. Indeed, the Franklin Garden Club joined with the FHS Horticulture II Class, an honors landscaping class, in a spring project to revamp the “Welcome to Franklin” signs on Highlands Road and Main Street. 

Primarily, students were tasked with designing the signs and then installing them. 

“The students’ goal throughout the class was to learn the basis of landscaping through design, cost, how to make a rough draft, a final draft, and come up with a final plan,” stated Jenny Collins, horticulture teacher at FHS. 

The class had been working on various projects throughout the 2023-24 school year, but when Franklin Garden Club’s President Paige Selking reached out to Collins through an arbitrary conversation, regarding the agriculture department’s plant sale fundraiser, the two decided on this project to involve the students in the community of Franklin. 

BEFORE THE 2023-24 school year ended, the Franklin Garden Club joined with the Franklin High School Horticulture II Class to revamp the landscaping around the “Welcome to Franklin” signs.

“This year, the Town of Franklin asked if we would redo the ‘Welcome to Franklin’ signs because they weren’t in good shape,” said Selking. “I emailed Jenny and asked if she would be interested in having her students make the designs and plant them and we would pay for the supplies. They jumped right on it.” 

The students designed the signs in groups, voted on each one as a class, and then chosen designs were sent to Selking and Rhonda Tallent, another member of the club. After the club ensured the class had the necessary supplies, the students installed their completed signs. About 20 students contributed to the project. 

“We only had so much space to work with, so we had measure that out,” explained Collins. “We also had to figure out what was going to be the best for a perennial garden; so, while [the project] may be expensive now, next year it will just be a maintenance issue. We also had to figure out height and color [of each sign].”

The project began in late March and was completed on the first of May. “It’s a great way for students to get out, work [for the betterment of the community], and use the skills they’ve learned,” declared Collins. 

In addition to the project with Collins’s class, the Franklin Garden Club also completed a planter-box project this past school year in conjunction with Jared Greenwood’s FHS carpentry class. 

Selking joined the club in the beginning of spring 2023, and, to her knowledge, the club had not previously engaged in any projects with FHS prior to her joining. 

“I don’t know if it has happened in the past, but if it did, it wasn’t a frequent thing. It’s just something I feel pretty passionate about,” expressed Selking. “We want to give the students an opportunity to do something in and for their community. It’s really good for promoting civic service as they become adults, and we had a really positive experience working with the students at FHS.” 

“I think it’s uplifting for the community to see the students investing back into the community,” added Collins, noting that students involved in the sign project communicated that it gave them a strong sense of community pride. 

Selking and Collins have already begun discussing potential FHS student collaborative projects for next school year.

Anna Waskey is an honors student at Franklin High School.