Mar. 18—In the three years since Green Hill High School was founded in Mt. Juliet, there have been four student deaths that have shaked the community.
Now, thanks to an Eagle Scout Project, there is a place on campus where other students, family members, and educators can go to remember them.
The parents of the four students were informed of the memorial, and there are plans to bring the families to campus to see it in the coming weeks.
"They just felt honored and glad to know that their child would be remembered by their peers, and that there's a place (for them)," GHHS Principal Kevin Dawson said. "It's exposed enough where, as you're driving through campus, you can see it, but it's private enough so that you can go, sit out there and have some quiet moments to reflect. The parents were glad to know that that area was available and that that was going to be there."
Students who are now memorialized are Gavin Cole, Aambria McGregor, Hayden Howard, and Austin Scott-Lee Gordon.
"Unfortunately, in Green Hill's short history, there have been three or four student deaths and a few employee deaths," Wilson County Schools Public Information Officer Bart Barker said. "You would think that a school that's only three years old would not have experienced the kind of unfortunate tragedies that they've had."
The concept of constructing a memorial began in Green Hill's first year of existence when it lost its first student.
"We've been talking about it since year one when we lost our first student, but nothing ever came to fruition," Dawson said. "With the recent passing of Aambria, I sat down with one of my school counselors who is very motivated and said, 'Look we've got to finally make some headway on this. Within a day or so, a student named Jackson Phibbs reached out to me and said, 'I'm looking to do an Eagle Scout project, and I'm looking to do something along the lines of a memorial.' So, it all came together organically."
When Dawson first agreed to Phibbs doing the project, he'd imagined a small garden.
"He came up with this brilliant platform with a bench that really exceeded my expectations," Dawson said.
The school counselor reached out to the families of those who would be remembered in the memorial and got their permission before it was constructed.
"He (Phibbs) and Boy Scout Troop 911 did all of the labor," Dawson said. "They came out and worked two weekends. They came out to the school and worked pretty much all day Saturday, and the second weekend, I think they worked Saturday and Sunday. They were incredibly efficient. He came up with 100% of the plans, and I didn't ask him to change anything because I was so pleased."
When he'd heard that the memorial was complete, Dawson went out and sat, enjoying what his students had built.
"It's always a sad, sobering moment, when you're looking at young lives that are lost," Dawson said. "It was very nice to see that we can memorialize these students and continue to remember them."
Dawson said that the students building the memorial meant more than what adults could do.
"It's a memorial built by students and for students," Dawson said. "I think that that has more significance to it than a bunch of adults coming out and doing it. That's what impressed me. My students are doing something for their lost peers."