An outdoor garden and classroom: this was former ACE teacher, Joe Chandler’s, vision. He wanted students to have a place where they can unwind when things get too chaotic, and teachers can take their classes to learn. He wanted to create an educational safe haven.
Chandler passed before his project could even begin. “When he passed away it became a mission to make sure what he wanted would actually happen,” said Bas Wolf, the current ACE teacher. With the help of the school district donating $25,000, the ACE family was able to hire landscapers and begin the project at the beginning of January 2015.
After a lot of hard work, the outdoor garden, classroom, tribute center, and relaxation spot was officially finished, with the exception of the future bushes and trees to be planted. Anthony Gutierrez, a junior, said, “I think it’s cool people started the project because Chandler was an amazing person and he would want to be remembered like that.”
To kick off all the hard work, and to celebrate his life, there was a gathering on August 28 to officially open the new space. The gathering had the ACE family, Chandler’s wife and kids, Highlands Ranch faculty, students, and even former ACE students who had been impacted by Chandler as his past students. A former graduated ACE student, Kenny Robertson, who was at the gathering said, “He would be blown away by all the work put into this and all the people who came to support it.”
There were laughs, and even tears, as everyone stood upon Chandler’s vision that is now a heartwarming reality. Leta Bevans, a junior, said, “I think it’s awesome that everyone who put this together was dedicated to make all of this happen.”
Mackenzie Ross, Staff Reporter