Community members rally to pay for damage done to middle school garden
Locals raise more than $2,000 to help restore vandalized garden
–Wednesday afternoon, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District administrators accepted a check to cover the cost of damage to the Daniel Lewis Middle School Garden.
The Lewis Leopard Garden was recently damaged by vandals who broke pots, destroyed plants, and smeared red and white paint on the ground and walls of the building. Although the damage was estimated to be about $300 dollars, the emotional impact of the destruction was devastating, particularly to the teachers and students who worked in the garden.
Paso Robles local Yessenia Echevarria and her friends raised more than $2,000 to help the school restore the garden to its previous state. Yessenia’s nephew previously spent time at the garden during his tenure at Lewis Middle School.
“I am grateful to see the community come together for our Middle Schoolers”, said Echevarria. “This shows when the community comes together we can impact our school district and better support our students.”
Attending Wednesday’s event at the Lewis Leopard Garden were PRJUSD School Board President Chris Arend, Superintendent Curt Dubost, Assistant Superintendent Jennifer Gaviola, and Lewis Head Custodian Darryl Coulter, who opened the gate so that the presentation of the check could take place in the Lewis Leopard Garden. Echevarria also brought her niece and nephew.
Gaviola says the police investigation described the vandalism as a random act, and not an action specifically targeting the school or its administration. Lewis Custodian Darryll Coulter showed Superintendent Curt Dubost and School Board President Chris Arend some of the damage caused by paint-splattered against the wall next to the garden.
Editor’s note: This story is updated to clarify that the children in attendance were Yessenia Echevarria’s niece and nephew.