Rotary Club Breaks Ground for LAHS Memorial Garden

From left, Dave Foster, Sandy Warnock, Dawn Venhaus, Travis Richins, Linda Hull, Kevin Honnell, Skip King, Eric Ferm and Robyn Ladino. Courtesy/LAPS

From left, Eric Ferm, Tony Ladino, Robyn Ladino, Candy Haskins and Rick Haskins. Courtesy/LAPS

LAPS News:

“These trees and this Memorial Garden allow future generations of students to reflect, relax and remember,” said School Board President Kevin Honnell at the official ground breaking ceremony of the new memorial garden planned for Los Alamos High School.

Families and friends of students who died while in high school attended the ceremony for the Los Alamos Rotary Club’s Memorial Garden.

Honnell, who is also a Rotarian, opened the ceremony by thanking parents for sharing the gift of remembrance of their departed children.

The garden and trees, he said, would inspire our students and help return life to our community. He complimented the Rotary Club for “service above self” and for honoring the memory of students with this garden.

LAHS Principal Sandy Warnock also thanked parents, stating “that this garden honors their children.” 

She explained that through this Memorial Garden, the lives of former students will be remembered. She visualized the Memorial Garden, stating that the “centralized design, which includes a variety of trees, will complement the recently constructed high school.”

LAHS Student Body President Travis Richins spoke of how special the memories were of these students.

“Sitting next to the garden,” he said, “would bring cherished moments to families and friends.” “The loss of any student,” he lamented, “is unbearable; but, the garden would serve as a reminder to cherish life and remind us that our lives are fragile.”  He concluded by stating he was proud to present this garden to the students of Los Alamos High School.

Rotary President Linda Hull honored the parents by presenting each with a rose. The thoughtful sentiment accented her comments that, “We must not forget these students that once walked this ground and sat in our schools.”  “The legacy of the garden,” she explained, “was a way to help preserve the memory of these students.”

Tony and Robin Ladino, whose daughter Elizabeth will be memorialized, shared “Our daughter loved being a Hilltopper.”

They went on to say that the legacy of the garden will allow them to sit and reflect on her memory.”

Eric Ferm, whose daughter Amanda died in 2002, noted that his daughter and her friends ate lunch and shared time with each other under the shade of the large cottonwoods.  

She would have graduated in 2004, he shared with sadness. Planting a tree in her memory seemed fitting.

Rick and Candy Haskins, whose son Michael will be remembered, felt the Memorial Garden would be a wonderful respite.

They asked that the site be dedicated to students. They hoped that future generations of students would use this garden as a place of quiet contemplation.

The ceremony concluded with a formal ground breaking. Rotary Club members, School Board members and school staff, as well as parents participated. 

Actual work on the Memorial Garden is set for October. Five trees will be planted next to the garden in memory of students who died while attending Los Alamos High School.

Names of students are still being collected. If families or community members are aware of students who died while attending Los Alamos High School, they are encouraged to call the district office 663-2230.

Major contributors of the project with time and materials are Craig Wehner, owner of Los Alamos Landscaping and Brad King, co-owner of Oasis Landscaping Construction.

From left, Linda Hull, Kevin Honnell, Skip King, Eric Ferm, Tony Ladino and Robyn Ladino. Courtesy/LAPS

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