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Anderson Co. Boy Scout creates space to inspire students

About 20 students can fit seated in the outdoor classroom.
Published: Nov. 3, 2021 at 6:48 PM EDT
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POWELL, Tenn. (WVLT) - Students and teachers have a new place to learn and teach thanks to a high schooler from Anderson County.

Johnny Clark, a junior at Oak Ridge High School, planned his Eagle Scout project by adding a new outdoor classroom to his former elementary school.

“The whole point of this project is to get kids outdoors during these COVID times,” said Clark.

Clark said he planned the project for more than a year and built it with the help of school staff and his troop members in a month and a half.

The parent-teacher organization gave Clark more than $732 for supplies; whatever that didn’t cover he got donated.

“I was worried constantly how it would turn out in the end. But once we started getting out here and working I felt so much more confident in it,” expressed Clark. “The big point of this was to improve on their focus and just get more creativity within all the students.”

His biggest challenge was finding his workforce due to COVID-19 concerns, but he found a way and made the wooden benches and tables sustainable.

“Not everybody’s willing to come out and put in effort and be around other people at all times,” said Clark. “We started out by building concrete bases for it just to make it more secure in the ground and to prevent theft.”

About 20 students can fit seated in the space.

Principal Jennifer Coleman hopes the new classroom will help keep kids focused.

“I think this is going to be a wonderful opportunity to get our kids outside of the indoor classroom and bring them outside, let them be in nature, step back from technology a little bit and just be able to learn in a different environment,” said Coleman.

Clark hopes to complete all the paperwork needed to be an Eagle Scout by Spring.

The future of the classroom continues to grow. One of his fellow troop members is considering adding a weather-proof whiteboard to the space.

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