By Dave Ongie, News Editor
At the main entrance of Indian Trail Intermediate School, there is a quiet, unassuming spot where a handful of plants and landscaping stones surround a Japanese maple.
The manicured piece of earth includes a stone dedicating the space to Anna Love, an Indian Trail student who passed away in 2000. According to Anna’s mother Luanne, who taught at Indian Trail for around 17 years prior to her retirement, the memory garden in front of the school has been a fitting tribute to her daughter.
“I enjoyed my time when I taught here, and I know Anna enjoyed her time here,” Luanne Love said. “She loved her teachers, and she loved the classes. To our family, this garden will help keep Anna’s memory alive. I know she would feel blessed as we do.”
While the garden was dedicated to Anna’s memory years ago, time took its toll on the memorial garden. Indian Trail principal Dr. James Jacobs took note of the condition of the garden last year and asked the faculty at Indian Trail who wanted to spearhead an effort to spruce up the space.
“I thought, man, I’d really like to do something for the Love family,” Jacobs said. “I’ve known the Love family for a long time.”
Lisa Raper, a fifth-grade teacher in Indian Trail’s Elk Hall, was immediately excited about the project, as was Kathy Leonard in Bear Hall. Both women taught with Luanne Love before her retirement, and they helped get the ball rolling on fundraising efforts as well as figuring out the logistics of overhauling the memory garden.
Heidi Kane, a sixth-grade teacher on Bear Hall, helped organize a fundraiser to collect the money needed to update the garden. Students and parents generously donated money for supplies to make the project happen.
Kane reached out to Jason Hodges, who donated his time and labor to redesign the garden. Hodges also donated some landscaping stones to the project and reached out to Site One Landscape Supply, which generously supplied a Japanese Maple tree to be placed in the garden.
The completed project was officially unveiled on Oct. 4 when Luanne and her husband Scott Love came to the school for a ceremony. They thanked Hodges as well as Jacobs and the faculty and students who helped restore the garden.
For Scott Love, Friday’s visit was a return to a place that has become very special to him following the loss of his daughter nearly 20 years ago.
“Having this here, it’s an important place in my heart, and it always has been, “ Scott Love said. “Every time I came to the school to visit Luanne, I would stop. Just knowing that it’s here, and just knowing you guys care enough to do this means the world to us.”