On June 11, 2016, a gravel walkway connecting the Paradise parking lot with the back entrance of the school was successfully finished. Christened “Paradise Trail,” the footpath was the culmination of student and faculty efforts to simplify student drivers’ daily morning trek from the parking lot to school.
“[The project] was a visible and a useful improvement to the school that was the result of student ideas and hard work,” said Student Council Moderator Anne Jones.
Students and faculty worked on the trail from June 9-11, completing the project after a steady rain on June 10 that turned the worksite to mud. In addition to Student Council representatives, other students and faculty members assisted: Jones, Executive Director Dave Jackson, Math teacher Bill Losekamp, English teacher Ashley Markesbery, and others worked on the project.
Those who worked on the endeavor feel that it has other benefits in addition to its practical side.
“I feel like [the people working on the project] bonded and got to know each other more. Students and faculty relationships got strengthened due to the project,” senior Ben Johnston said.
“I think it’s nice that it has Student Council’s name on it, because it’s…one of the more visible ways Student Council has contributed [to McNick],” senior Christiane Hazzard said.
Others spoke of the beauty aspect that the project added to the school grounds.
“We have such a great community, and it’s nice when our grounds and our facilities reflect that,” Jones said.
Current Senior Zach Woodke originally came up with the idea to construct such a trail when he was a junior.
“I was walking up from Paradise one day, and I had just gotten new shoes. They got all muddy and I was just thinking ‘there’s got to be a better way,’” Woodke said.
Now that the project is complete and the gravel is laid, muddy shoes are a thing of the past. Even though the job is finished, however, there are more additions possible. Those involved with the project mentioned such features as a plaque to commemorate the Class of 2016 or even creating handprints on the retaining wall running along the trail.
Such ideas have not yet come to fruition, but even the trail itself will serve as a concrete and usable reminder of the ways members of the McNicholas community have contributed.
“It was very rewarding to just see the whole Student Council come together for a common goal, and to get something done…as a community,” Woodke said.