Diocesan News

Students help teacher, family over summer

Landscaping club from Pius X High School in Lincoln assist with ‘extreme yard makeover’

LINCOLN (SNR) - Eleven students from Pius X High School in Lincoln gave up a day of summer of fun to complete their own version of an extreme yard make-over for a Pius X teacher.

The students are part of the Pius X Landscaping Club, led by Georgia Miller and Sheila Melhaff. The group gathered July 23 to complete the one-day transformation for Spanish teacher Katie Hayes. 

In addition to maintaining much of the landscaping at Pius X High School, the club has worked on landscaping projects at St. Elizabeth Hospital and assisted with clean-up projects for different organizations.

“Before school let out I surveyed the members,” Miller said. “They wanted to do more community service, and wanted something that their parents could drive by and see what they had done.”

The idea of an extreme yard make-over started when Hayes approached Miller for advice on her yard. Both Katie and her husband Britt are also graduates of Pius X.

“I had given Katie some advice, but they live on a big corner lot and she seemed overwhelmed,” Miller said.

The Hayes family includes Britt, Katie, and their children ages 7, 5, 3, and 1.

“When we moved into our home three years ago, the yard was beautiful,” Hayes said. “The previous owners were great at maintaining this corner lot and were avid gardeners.”

But with four children under the age of 7, teaching full-time, and volunteering on committees at Pius, the Hayes family found it difficult to maintain the yard.

“We have just recently come out of that ‘baby survival mode’ of diapers (and) late nights,” she said.

Miller and Hayes had first planned to work on the lawn in late spring, but their project had been delayed.

“I decided to ask my landscaping students if they wanted to help and they were excited about the project,” Miller said. “The club has pretty much done all the learning we can at Pius X as far as preparing and completing a landscape, so this was perfect.”

The group showed up with tools, plants, mulch, and a detailed plan and spent the day beginning the total yard makeover. As if it was meant to be, Miller said, the students discovered pieces of flagstone buried underneath black landscape paper and weeds. There was just enough to make a 4-foot wide path from the sidewalk to mailbox. Miller was then able to teach the students a variety of landscaping skills including how to lay black edging, create a flagstone path, and to set boulders into a landscape so it is safe for children. The students also benefited from identifying plant material and weeds, learning proper planting techniques of new plant material, and, most of all, how to work together as a group while helping out a young family.

“Georgia and the Pius X Landscaping Club came to our rescue,” Hayes said, adding that Miller came back on her own to continue the job. “When I tell Pius people about how much time she has dedicated to this project, they are not surprised. ‘That’s just how she is,’ they say. She is always thinking of how she can be of service to others and goes out of her way to help.”

After this crash course in landscaping, Hayes says she now knows what to do to maintain the yard.

“And our kids are old enough to help, at least for a few minutes! Georgia and the Landscaping Club students have completely improved our quality of life with this makeover. It makes me smile every time I come home and see our beautiful yard.”

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