Southgate Elementary School Service Project


This year's service project effort has centered on helping our adopted
school, Southgate Elementary.  The relationship between the Clover Park
Rotary Club and Southgate Elementary goes back several years, to a time
when a former principal of Southgate was a member of our club, and we
became aware of the needs of the school for some assistance. 

Past involvement has consisted of Spaghetti Dinner Nights, Literacy
Nights, and other brief episodes.  But as Southgate has struggled with
low test scores and staff turnover, our club has come to realize that
Southgate needs some extra help.

This year, the Clover Park Rotary Club has devoted its service project
efforts to helping Southgate in ways that the school district is unable
to do.  Club members decided at one of our club assembly meetings in
2008 to place greater emphasis on helping Southgate.  An ad hoc
committee was formed to pursue ways of helping, and 3 main avenues were
identified: (1) Tutoring and mentoring, (2) Mental health, and (3)
facilities and grounds.

On Saturday, April 4, 2009, members of the Clover Park Rotary Club met
at Southgate to complete the facilities portion of this effort.  School
and district staff had identified certain key areas of need at the
school, including landscaping and playground equipment.  A work party on
April 4 was the culmination of those efforts. 

An interior courtyard that once had been a site for a raised beds garden
was transformed into a renewed landscape of low-maintenance native
plants.  And the entry area to the school by the marquee sign was in
need of a big renovation, so the old lawn was torn out, replaced by a
new bed of native plants.

25 Rotarians and others gathered to do the garden work.  Jack Roffler
honchoed the renovation of the interior courtyard.  Club president Don
Paradise supervised the renovation of the area by the entry sign.
McClain's Topsoil provided 20 yards of topsoil and 5 yards of beauty
bark at a big discount.  Charlie Maxwell arranged for LeMay, Inc. to
donate 10 yards of soil amendments.  And Furney's Nursery in Des Moines,
WA provided the design assistance and a discount on the plant purchases
to help finish the project.

Club member Randy Black brought his John Deere farm tractor, and the
front bucket moved most of the soil into place.  Other Rotarians backed
him up with wheelbarrows.  By 2 PM on April 4, the new garden beds were
in place, and several school staff stopped by to admire the
transformation, along with neighbors from the local area who all admired
the Rotarians' work. 

In addition to the garden beds, the Clover Park Rotary Club donated 3
metal benches for the playground.  The Lakewood Water District donated
staff time to perform the installation work for these benches.  Families
who visit the play structure on weekends will now have a place to sit.
The Clover Park Rotary also donated new basketball standards and rims
for the playground, to replace old rusting equipment which had come to
look decrepit and about to fail.  CPUSD maintenance staff did the
demolition of the old structures, and the installation of the new

School principal Charlotte Clouse was grateful for the efforts and
contributions of Clover Park Rotary.  "We fell so blessed to have the
Rotary Club as a partner in improving our school." 

Rotarians will be continuing their involvement with Southgate through
their mentoring efforts with selected students.  To find out more about
this project, and about the Clover Park Rotary Club, contact president
Donald Paradise at

Tom McClellan