by Sally Goldman, Centennial Volunteer Ambassador, Little Rock Central High School NHS


This week I spent a lot of time planning for two big events: a volunteer orientation and a National Public Lands Day project. The VIP orientation will be at the end of August and will be an introductory course on volunteering for NPS. We’ll be holding a small recognition ceremony for current volunteers after the orientation so that new volunteers can see some of the benefits of volunteering and get to know current volunteers.

Most of my week has been spent planning a National Public Lands Day project. Initially we weren’t planning on doing an NPLD event because it’s so close to the anniversary of Central’s integration (this year it’s the day after) but my boss and I found out that you can have an event for National Public Lands Day on a day that is the same day.

The class of 1955 is having their reunion in October. Previously they donated daffodils to plant in flower beds on the grounds and placed a plaque in the ground (“Returning spring flowers are reminders of lasting friendships”). The flowers have since died off (in the four years I attended Central, I never saw a single daffodil on campus) and weeds have overrun the grounds. NPS doesn’t actually maintain any of the school’s grounds; that’s the Little Rock School District’s job. However, the school district only has one yard custodian who works on Central’s grounds. Poor Mr. Broadway can’t keep up with everything on his own because the school is huge!

Brian, the Volunteer Coordinator, and I are working with two women from the class of 1955 and the school principal to clean up the flower beds and re-plant daffodils. The yard custodian sprayed weed killer on all of the flower beds, so our volunteers will be in charge of pulling out the dead plants and fixing the borders around the flower beds. Later, volunteers that the class of 1955 has recruited will till the soil, plant the bulbs, and put down mulch.

NPLD one

NPLD two
Flower beds that will be weeded and re-planted around the reflecting pool

The flower beds around the reflecting pool are mainly covered in grass, which will be a pain to pull out, but the worst is the flower bed with the gift plaque. It’s covered in weeds and the plaque has to be dug out and leveled. One of those weeds happens to be a large squash plant that’s growing. No one seems to know how that got there.

The cedar tree has a special marker on it indicating that it’s one of the trees that was on campus at the time of the crisis.
“Gee whiz, I can’t wait to remove this large squash plant!” said no one, ever.
I wanted to see how big they would get, but we picked off all the squashes before the yard custodian sprayed everything down with weed killer.

I’m hoping that after the project is done, I can assemble a regular crew of volunteers to weed the flower beds and pick up trash on campus every month. When you’re a student, you just notice that the grass is green and has been cut regularly, so everything looks fine. When you actually have time to look at the flower beds, you realize the grounds need a lot of work.

One other thing I did this week is create a temporary exhibit. We have a glass display case in our exhibits that can be changed out. Since school starts in school weeks, I created an exhibit on what Central is like today (a topic that I think I’m pretty qualified to educate people about). It was a lot more work that I anticipated!


I plan on changing the display case monthly unless another staff member wants to put something up.

Until next week,