By Clint Calhoun
Now that approval has been granted to Lake Lure Classical Academy to move forward with its 10-year master plan, the school is working hard to now turn those dreams into reality. While certainly the school has the same needs as other schools such as athletic fields, the all-important gymnatorium, and other facilities that make a school fully functional, all of which are needed to attract new families to the school and retain those that already have staked their claim with LLCA, but a school is also meant to be a rallying point for the larger community that it serves. Aside from the educational goals of a school, its ability to be a fixture in the community is dependent on what the school can give back. Community involvement can have as large a role in retention and recruitment as educational offerings and LLCA endeavors to find niches that will set it apart from other schools in the area, while at the same time is reflective of the community in which it resides.
Such opportunities can be found in the realm of conservation and agriculture. Certainly the area’s natural beauty puts conservation on the forefront in terms of educational focus, but there is also a feeling that there is untapped potential in the realm of agriculture and agribusiness. Months ago Life Roots began to amass a collective of local agribusinesses to help in our own community’s Life Roots campaign, to bring quality cultural and sustainable agricultural and building programs to our community. Here’s some of the things the school would like to do or has the potential to do in order to promote this campaign:
- Create an outdoor classroom and experiment area for experiential education. There are numerous studies that show that experience reinforces learning.
- Use the school grounds in different areas for sustainable gardening, providing fruits and vegetables for student lunches or snacks, or to just be a more hospitable place for wildlife.
- Plant utilitarian plants that can be used in crafts, art and theatre projects, or nature programs.
- Create a more inviting recess area that incorporates plantings along with building supplies to provide appealing structures that offer shade, but incorporate vegetation to reduce impervious surface and improve storm water infiltration.
- Have speakers from and field trips to agribusinesses in our area.
- Form and participate in 4H Club as well as Future Farmers of America.
- Leverage resources from Master Gardeners, the Lake Lure Flowering Bridge Club, and Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy.
- Involvement with the Audobon Society to make the campus inviting to wildlife, particularly birds, honeybees and butterflies.
- Exploring and implementing green energy opportunities such as solar.
These efforts will not only provide educational opportunities, but will take critical steps to beautify the school campus and provide another interface mechanism between the school and the greater community which is not exclusive to Lake Lure, but also includes Chimney Rock Village, Sunny View, Bills Creek, and upper Green Hill (to a lesser extent).
It’s really exciting to think about what the future holds, not only for our school, but also the communities that support it, as we work together to create a sustainable future that provides both educational, conservation, and agribusiness opportunities. Of course, these things will require involvement, not only from the school community, but the surrounding community, so please stay tuned for opportunities to contribute.
Once again, LLCA wants to say a huge thanks to our school family (administration, staff, faculty, board of directors, school committees, volunteers, parents, and students), but also to the communities and organizations that support our school through donation of time, volunteers, and resources. We are all in this together and we look forward to moving into the future with you all.