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School project takes root
A volunteer effort at Hampton Oaks Elementary has helped spruce up the school grounds

LEE WOOLF
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Date published: 10/27/2004

By LEE WOOLF

IF STAFF members at Hampton Oaks Elementary School want to educate their students about the benefits of teamwork, they have the perfect teaching tool right outside their windows.

The lesson plan can include the neat mulch beds and the new shrubs, flowers and trees that adorn the front lawn.

All are products of teamwork--involving students, teachers, parents, scout groups and local businesses. And the result is a school beautification project of which everyone can be proud.

The sprucing up of Hampton Oaks Elementary actually began before the school year started in September, according to Rebecca Yacone.

As a neighborhood resident, a member of the Stafford Business Exchange and President of the Hampton Oaks Homeowners Association, Yacone has helped coordinate the volunteer effort.

For years, several groups have maintained sections of the school grounds--each feeling somewhat alone in their efforts, Yacone said in an e-mail. But this year, that enthusiasm has been consolidated in the spirit ofwell, teamwork.

Other key players in the project have been school principal Nancy Coll and Rick Hankins, an active member of the Hampton Oaks HOA and a Scout leader for Cub Scout Pack 850.

"This is a tremendous effort by our citizens to support the schools--way beyond my expectations," said Tom Villacres, who represents Garrisonville District on the Stafford County School Board. "This is a great example of a community partnership to improve the neighborhood school that started with a true grassroots effort."

Before the first open house of the fall, volunteers weeded and planted fresh flowers at the Hampton Oaks school sign, clipped undergrowth from the nearby crêpe myrtles and scrubbed black streaks from the stucco surfaces on the building's exterior.

Yacone said the school's PTO helped raise funds specifically for the beautification project, and Hankins signed up about 30 volunteers at the open house.

By mid-September, scouts had weeded the front beds and the flag pole area and other volunteers had pruned the dwarf crab apple trees in front of the school and hauled the cut branches to the dump.

Meanwhile, Yacone said several local businesses have actively supported the project.

Rodney Covington, owner of Commonwealth Irrigation and Landscaping, donated more than 30 yards of mulch for the front beds and the school's playground area.


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