Article: Bell Creek Reading Garden Gets Much-Needed Facelift

Bell Creek Reading Garden Gets Much-Needed Facelift

Posted Thursday, November 3, 2022

Long in disrepair, the students at Bell Creek Intermediate School now have a welcoming presence when they head out to the Reading Garden.

As a service project to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, Matteo Krivitzky, a junior at Bellbrook High School, took on the responsibility of bringing the reading Garden back to life.

“I saw how overgrown the garden was and I thought that was something I wanted to tackle,” he said. Krivitzky said the idea of the garden itself, the landscaping portion of it and the ability to help out BCI Principal Donnie Phelps all played in his desire to make the Reading Garden part of his Eagle Scout service project.

First, Krivitzky came up with a plan. He wanted to make sure the weeds were cleaned up and he wanted to make sure the garden was wheelchair accessible. He said the preexisting gravel path wasn’t really ideal for those who have trouble maneuvering.

There also was a bench that had seen better days that was removed and replaced.

“I wanted to keep the general shape and the plaque that was there for the person – Mrs. Libby Stanton – who helped build it,” Krivitzky said. “I definitely learned a lot. How to talk to people and how to go out and get donations and get people to help with the project.”

 This is just part of the process for Krivitzky to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. He still has to go in front of the board of review, and finish other requirements, as well.

His father, Nate Krivitzky,
 said he was impressed with how the community came to the aid of his son and the school.

“I was so impressed by the community,” the elder Krivitzky said. “So many people volunteered their time and gave us supplies at cost.”

But what the school is most excited about is the hope it continues to foster a love for reading at the school. Having a space set aside so students can enjoy nature, as well as the words on a page is something worth celebrating.

“We know that reading is a foundational skill,” third grade reading intervention specialist Michala Andrade said. “So we really want to foster that joy for learning and reading because it’s such a crucial component for life. You might not use the Pythagorean theorem, but you have to read.”

Andrade mentioned the excitement of students when it comes to being in the reading garden, saying it’s a popular spot during recess.

“Matteo was a former student of mine when I taught at the high school, so it was aspecial honor to work with  him to earn his rank while helping my current students and staff to have a nicer space for outdoor learning or just enjoying good books,” Phelps said.

“Matteo was an excellent communicator and collaborator throughout this project. I believe the future is in good hands when I see such solid leadership skills and commitment from our next generation of leaders.”

According to Matteo, the project took a full year to complete, start to finish. A total of 230 hours were worked among the 24 people who helped.

Many members of the community donated their time and funds to help make the Reading Garden’s revamp possible. The job couldn’t have been completed without:
  • Tom Zengel Concrete Contracting (labor donation)
  • Ernst Concrete (materials donation)
  • Lowe’s (materials donation)
  • Openhaus Engraving and Gifts (plaque donation)
  • Jason Bede of Bede Landscaping (donated knowledge, materials, tools and labor)
  • Bern’s Nursery (materials donation/discount)
  • Tom’s Mulch (materials donation)
    Special Thanks To: Mr. Michael Krivitzky (Grandfather), who helped with the construction of the two garden benches. Mr. Adam Panstingel (Eagle Project Coach) and Every scout and adult who helped make the project possible.

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