GLEN ELLYN – The Shakespeare garden at Glenbard West High School got a major upgrade this summer thanks to a local Boy Scout.
West senior Martin Keane decided to renovate the garden for his Eagle Scout project, a requirement to reach the organization’s highest rank.
Keane, a member of Glen Ellyn Troop 41, said he wanted to turn the garden into an “inviting space.”
“I’ve always been intrigued by outdoors and nature, probably from being on so many campouts with Scouts,” he said.
His grandmother previously pointed out disrepair in the garden, and Keane said he kept that in the back of his mind when he was deciding on an Eagle Scout project.
“I thought doing a project at West would be good,” he said.
Among the things that needed to be done in the garden were clearing the weeds, tilling the soil, laying down mulch, redoing the gravel path and planting donated plants.
The planning process began in November, and Keane met with school administrators six times. Leading up to the event, he had to fill out paperwork, gather materials, find volunteers and figure out costs, among other things.
Volunteers came together June 28 to work on the garden. Keane said 90 percent of the work was done that day. Ferns, gravel and mulch were all donated to the project. Keane went out the day before and cleared some of the larger weeds.
In all, 26 people turned out to help, and Keane said they worked for seven hours.
“The project itself, the organization and the leadership, it went really well,” he said.
One of the most difficult things they had to do was put down a weed barrier cloth. Keane said it was “a lot harder to stake in than we anticipated.”
West English Department Chair Ben Peterselli said he met with Keane last year and got behind the idea to renovate the garden.
“I thought it was a great start,” Peterselli said. “I think what Marty’s accomplished is the first phase in a plan.”
The second phase, he said, would be replanting some of the garden’s distinct plants. He intends to take over that portion of the work, including fundraising and maintaining the garden.
“We can’t do anything without the work Marty did,” Peterselli said.
The garden was originally dedicated in 1996, and Peterselli believes it didn’t get the attention it needed during that time. Renovating the garden was on his radar for two years.
Peterselli is planning a rededication ceremony this fall and possibly something for Keane this year.
“As an alum and as a community member and as a father of three future Hilltoppers, the grounds are very important to me,” Peterselli said, adding the garden “looks great” now.
Keane is waiting for a date to be set for his final Board of Review, when several members from his district will evaluate whether he’s a good candidate to be an Eagle Scout.
He couldn’t just delegate to other people and he had to be heavily involved in the process and do work along with everyone else. The project helped him showcase “skills I think were really helpful in growing my leadership skills and making me more confident in my abilities,” Keane said.
“I think I’ve always been a natural leader,” he said.