June 4, 2012
Greene County 12th grader, Elizabeth Strauss constructed a classroom; she rolled up her sleeves and built a new outdoor learning space at William Monroe High School and is now receiving top Girl Scout honors for this project.
“It was last year; we were in math class and it was a gorgeous day. My math teacher said: wouldn’t it be great if we could be out here for the rest of the day? I thought it would be neat,” said Strauss.
This was when the idea to build the outdoor classroom came about for Strauss. It started as a blueprint on a page, and is now developed to a structure for students and teachers to use during science lessons on trees, grass, and more.
This structure didn’t just pop up overnight. Strauss along with friends and a couple of contractors worked hard to make sure every screw was in place, every beam was measured correctly, and even personal touches were added.
“We took one day to build all the benches. Two Wednesdays ago we took the big post and dug it into the ground about two feet and cemented it in. Then Saturday we went and finished putting up all the beams and stuff,” said Strauss.
All of their hard work has paid off.
“I’m still really surprised that it’s done. Every time I look out, I smile and think about how I put that out there,” said Strauss.
Strauss is receiving the highest honor in Girl Scouts for this project: the Gold Award which she’ll put on her vest with other patches and awards. Strauss beams that it feels great to get this award.
Her accomplishment is inspiring friends and fellow Girl Scout troop members.
“Definitely watching Elizabeth get hers is really inspiring to me to make mine happen,” said Megan Lilly, a fellow Girl Scout.
“It’s been really cool to watch Elizabeth go through the process and know what I have to go through to get my Gold Award,” said Elizabeth Edelman, another fellow Girl Scout.
Completing this project is helping Strauss achieve her goals, but Principal Mike Jamerson also says it will benefit other students for years to come.
“She’s graduating this year so this is something she did truly for the future of the kids of Greene County, not really for herself,” said Jamerson.
While Strauss is hoping that the outdoor classroom makes learning more interactive for students, she also wants them to see what she did and know that they can accomplish their goals as well with a little determination and hard work.
Strauss isn’t finished with the outdoor classroom just yet; she wants to add a few more items to it, especially a chalk board.