Local News

Volunteers spruce up Durham school

Posted August 7, 2010 6:09 p.m. EDT
Updated August 8, 2010 9:13 a.m. EDT

— Volunteers with Fidelity Investments and Hands On Charlotte came together Saturday to make improvements at Lowe's Grove Middle School in Durham.

Nearly 200 volunteers improved a greenhouse and refreshed school grounds at 4418 S. Alston Ave.

"I think it makes a difference to the kids, to their families, to the faculty," volunteer Malcolm Lovett said. "You kind of get a sense of pride when you go to a school that just looks nice.”

The school's transformation comes as students and school leaders are fighting to raise test scores. Lowe's Grove is one of the 16 lowest performing schools in North Carolina, with less than 50 percent of students passing standardized tests.

Scores are on the way up, though – from 39 percent two years ago to 48 percent this past year. Principal Kathy Kirkpatrick said the goal is to hit 60 percent this year.

“We're getting there," Kirkpatrick said. "The way to do that is to surround kids with things that look good and to show them they are valuable and that they are worth it. If you surround them with greatness, they know that they can become great."

Volunteers also installed 100 donated computers and a LED stock ticker to support financial literacy programs.

When students return to Lowe's Grove in less than three weeks, they will have a new outdoor amphitheater as well.

"Imagine them coming back to a track they can use, to an amphitheater they can do drama, to the murals and the flowers, it's just amazing," Kirkpatrick said. "For them to drive up the first day of school and see this, that's just the way to start a year."

Lowe's Grove is one of 11 middle schools across the United States getting a transformation from Fidelity Investments and HandsOn Network volunteers.