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Students break ground on prayer garden at L-EHS

Posted: January 23, 2014 4:49 p.m.
Updated: January 24, 2014 5:00 a.m.

Lugoff-Elgin High School (L-EHS) students from various school organizations are moving forward with plans to build a prayer garden at the school. L-EHS seniors Casey Swails and Tyler Hand, who are leading the project, wanted to make it clear that the garden’s purpose isn’t to honor a particular class or students.

“A big thing with us, is that this is for the glory of God. We’re not putting our names on it and we don’t want us to be glorified. We are just people who God uses to do his will. Whatever he wants to do with it, whether he wants to tear it up and have us build it again … whatever is His will, let it be done,” Tyler said.

Casey said that he hopes and prays the garden will be used by students for prayer.

“We don’t want to build this and it just kind of be there. We want it to be used for years and years to come. We had some kids out there 7 to 10 years old helping (to start the garden). We want them to be able to say when they get to high school, ‘I helped build that.’ It’s something to be remembered for years to come.” Casey said.

Students and community members broke ground for the garden two weeks ago. Professional landscaper Russell Catoe assisted students with planning the garden and is assisting with building it. The garden will be located near the middle of the school next to the gym. Flower beds will be planted in a small area of the garden and four benches will be placed there.

One of the benches will be dedicated to the late Deputy Rob Evans.

“We knew Officer Evans; he actually came out to support the prayer garden. He was a member of Lugoff First Baptist Church, so he knew about what we were doing. He was such an instrumental part of this community,” Tyler said.

According to Tyler, a suggestion by a mentor first fueled the idea of constructing a prayer garden at his high school. At first he brushed it aside, but the idea wouldn’t leave.

“The idea didn’t go away. It seemed like every morning I would start to think about it and I didn’t know why,” Tyler said.

During this time, Tyler noticed his morning scripture readings pointed towards obedience to God and decided to start planning for the prayer garden despite his own doubts and discouragement from others.

Tyler discussed the idea with his friend and fellow senior Casey.

“I liked the idea that we could have a place on campus that stood for God -- a visible, physical thing that showed that God is on campus. It gives us an opportunity to show what God can do and to witness to others who don’t know what God is all about. We can express what Jesus did for us through the prayer garden,” Casey said.

The first hurdle to building a prayer garden was getting permission to build at the high school. The two weren’t sure if they would be allowed to do so.

After researching their rights as students, as well as the logistics and financial cost of building the garden, the students approached their principal and were granted permission.

The next step was for involved students to ask community members and businesses for financial support.

So far, students have raised approximately $2,100.

Fellowship of Christian Athletes teacher sponsor Susan Morris said she was touched by the dedication of all of the students involved.

“I just want to say that truly, if there is anything in this school that is student led, it is this. When they first came to me (about the project) I was doubting, but these guys and girls who have helped have made this happen. They are the ones who got the support, went to the principal … they did it all, unashamed and unafraid,” Morris said.

Tyler and Casey hope the project will be complete in a month and that they will be able to have a dedication service for the event.

“It will be a time to thank those individuals and churches who have given and to share the testimony of what happened, of how God used us for his will,” Tyler said.

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