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A sense of community is one of the main focuses here in Rancho Sahuarita and that same spirit has extended into the schools that our children attend.

Since 2006 when Anza Trail opened, nine improvement projects have been completed around the school through volunteered time and supplies from parents, students and community partners. This initiative to enhance the atmosphere of the school has also enhanced the Anza Trail community. Sharri Cagle, secretary to Anza Trail Assistant Principal Clarisa Nido, said these projects are her favorite part of the school community. “I like that you can unite so many people,” said Cagle. She added that the focus is involving the students in the projects saying, “It drives the kids to give back.”

This concept started with the Kindergarten Garden and quickly grew from there. Since then projects have included an Honor Wall in the front lobby, where students put up pictures of family that have served in the military. “It’s a great opportunity for the kids to be proud of their loved ones,” said Cagle of the Honor Wall.  They also painted a flag mural in 2010 outside the cafeteria which is made from the handprints of every student in the school.

This summer they completed a 12’ x 12’ wood pergola, donated by Lowes and built by volunteers, in the courtyard. The pergola will provide shade for students at recess, as well as a suitable outdoor location for PTO meetings and Meet & Greet events.

Anza Trail - Be Kind Courtyard (2)

Additionally, 16 student and parent volunteers worked for 2 days this summer to paint a 48’ x 62’ Dr. Seuss themed mural, complete with the Lorax and truffula trees. The mural is intended to be a bright, colorful area for the kindergarten students and has incorporated the “Be Kind” initiative by including phrases like “Be Kind,” “Be Caring,” and “Be Respectful,” painted on the truffula trees. The materials for this project were donated by Lowes as well.

Anza Trail - Be Kind Courtyard (7)

Overall this summer’s projects for “Encouraging Environment” involved 108 people volunteering 288 hours and supplies for a total estimated value of $65,000. But the school won’t be stopping there as they have more plans for future projects with further support from the community. Because as Cagle said, “None of this is possible without people stepping up and being willing to lend a hand.”

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