Former students help beautify John Shields school

by Susan O’Neill
SUGAR GROVE—Anyone who entered the Kaneland John Shields Elementary School in Sugar Grove this spring has a much nicer view, thanks to several local businesses, parents and other volunteers.

Tim and Ken Norris, owners of Spring Bluff Nursery, attended the Sugar Grove Grade School before it was torn down to build the current one. So when parent Rachel Muckerheide approached them for help in beautifying the front of the school, they were more than willing to take on the project.

Tim said when he came to take a look at the school, he found a fine building in great need of landscape maintenance. He said the scope of the project was too large for your average “weekend warrior” volunteer group, so he and his brother agreed to step in this one time.

Spring Bluff Nursery employee Linda Haas created the landscaping plan for the entrance to the building and around the flagpole. She and other nursery employees donated their efforts to plant the flowers, bushes and grasses donated by the nursery and to edge the area.

“They really have gone above and beyond,” John Shields Principal Shelley Hueber said. “It uplifts everyone’s spirits; teachers, students and principals.”

Haas, whose children also attended school at John Shields, said she wanted the school to have a welcoming atmosphere for everyone.

“Our schools are not just educating our future citizens, but create a lifetime of memories,” she said. “I hope all schools will continue to take pride in the outside appearance.”

Another parent, Janet Wallace, painted the front windows of the school with pictures of spring flowers and butterflies. According to Muckerheide, Wallace will come back and paint a different scene each seasons.

“Every new school built in the Kaneland School District starts out with fine landscaping,” Tim said.

He suggested that the budget should include money for maintaining it.

“It is unrealistic to expect the parents at these schools to maintain the landscaping,” he said.

Photo: Workers from Spring Bluff Nursery work on the landscaping in front of Kaneland John Shields Elementary School in Sugar Grove. Courtesy Photo