‘Denny’s Garden’ toasted by Hope community

Garden presented as tribute to late school board member

By Rick Kennedy, managing editor
The cool temperatures and cloudy skies Tuesday morning did little to curb the enthusiasm of a crowd of over 200 students and community leaders as a Chamber Ribbon cutting and celebration was held for the formal introduction of “Denny’s Place,” the community garden located on the Hope Academy of Public Service campus in honor of late Zone 6 school board member Denver L. “Denny” Dickinson.
Dickinson was first elected to the Hope Public Schools Board in September 2002, serving 15 years on the board out of Zone 6, which was then the second-longest tenure among members of the board. He was also a 1960 graduate of Hope High School.
Nearly a year in the making, ‘Denny’s Place’ is an outdoor science garden and classroom space that started construction in December 2017, and has been a pet project of the Hempstead County Master Gardeners.
Over the past eight months, the project was also publicly awarded a $1,600 inter-disciplinary grant from Pacon Creative Products as one of three winners of a company-sponsored competition.
According to the grant essay publicly credited to HAPS teacher Melissa Ellis, “Students will be able to synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to construct a garden/structure. Denny Dickinson, a former school board member and vital member of our community passed away September 20, 2017. The impact of his life on others and the community was tremendous as he touched many lives and hearts.”
The designation of the project as “Denny’s Place” grew out of the student and community response to Dickinson’s commitment to public education, according to Ellis at the time.
A Who’s Who of Hope community public officials and business leaders were on hand as was the student body of HAPS, and there were student band members, who played music before and after the ceremony.
Dickinson’s widow, who also assumed his Zone 6 seat on the Hope School Board, Kathryn Dickinson was among a series of speakers, and she visibly paused a couple of times in reflection as she was thanking the community and the contributors.
Nan Wright of the Hempstead Master Gardens, spoke to the construction of the grade, and gave an extensive list and thanks to individual and corporate contributors.
Denny Dickinson was former co-owner of Hope Livestock Auction, and owner of Dickinson Realty in Hope. He was also a member of the First United Methodist Church of Hope.
He is also remembered for organizing the Guernsey Volunteer Fire Department, where he served as the Fire Chief and at one time, he served on the Board of Directors of the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
The special event also captured the attention of the state television media, a couple of which had cameras and crews present.

Kathryn Dickinson (right) speaks with fellow Hope School Board member Jesus Coronado during the “Denny’s Garden” dedication Tuesday; also present were community leaders like State Rep. Danny Watson (left), himself a former school board member, and Steve Harris. (Rick Kennedy photo)
Kathryn Dickinson (far left) poses with members of the Hempstead County Master Gardeners and Hope School district after the ceremony. (Rick Kennedy photo)

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