The Serenity Garden of Algonquin Regional High School

All I wanted, when I was a student in New York City public schools, was a school garden. No Luck.

So every time I read about a school creating a garden for their students I jump for joy.  Today I give  kudos to a special school and special parents.

Within the bustle of the Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, Massachusetts lies a serenity garden....

The Algonquin Serenity Garden, located in the school's  courtyard, was started in 2007 by the Murphy Sisters Foundation. The foundation was formed by the parents of Shauna and Meghan Murphy, sisters who were killed in an auto accident in October 2005.

Shauna was 17 and Meghan was 15. Both were students at Algonquin high..

Michelle and Christopher Murphy, the girls’ parents, and other supporters of the garden wanted a place “to remember those who died too soon,” said Susan M. Halpin, a consumer science teacher at the school.

And so 18,000 square feet was designated as the site for a quiet space to invite contemplation and enjoy Nature.  The serenity garden master plan (created by Alan Steinman Landscaping) calls for trees, a gazebo, a foot bridge, granite benches and a butterfly garden.

And of course, this being a school, the serenity garden also serves as a  living classroom, teaching valuable lassons about a host of things. There are rows of vegetables, compost bins and the math students even marked out the path for a brick walkway.

"We've had real enthusiasm with the students to do this," Halpin said.

Halpin and environmental science teacher Chrissy Connolly took a class in the summer to learn how to incorporate garden lessons into their curriculum.  "We're hoping to get new ideas on how to use this space as a learning tool," Halpin said.

Congratulations to Algonquin High! I hope your Serenity Garden inspires others out there.

What a wonderful way to remember the Murphy sisters.


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