New Sensory Garden door dedicated to Carmen Swilley

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Mrs. Carmen Swilley was honored at a dedication ceremony for the recently installed door in one of Oak Grove High School’s community-based classrooms. The door gives the classroom direct access to the Sensory Garden.

Swilley spearheaded the construction of the Sensory Garden, and has advocated for the installation of the door since the garden’s completion. It is located in Mrs. Forman’s room on G Hall. Next to the door is a plaque that reads: “Carmen C. Swilley Portal to the Sensory Garden 2017.”

“The Sensory Garden is meant to appeal to all five senses – hence the name Sensory Garden,” said Swilley. “It is open to everybody, but it’s mostly for the community-based students. It’s basically like an extension of their room that they can use when they need to relax.”

The ribbon cutting ceremony on December 6 was attended by some of Swilley’s students and coworkers. She was also presented with a necklace by several of her former students, including Bennie James, who read a letter describing what each item on the necklace represents.

“The necklace has the stones to represent the stones that were painted outside in the garden, and they indicate that I’m a gem,” said Swilley. “The feather represents the wildlife and birds they see outside. The believe is a reminder of how I never gave up on getting the door, and the arrow represents how I will always be a Warrior.”

Swilley will be retiring from teaching at a public school at the end of the semester.

“I will be homeschooling along with being a liaison for the Temple people, and I will still be coming over here to help with the Sensory Garden, because I won’t be working full time. I also hope to be traveling more because I like traveling,” said Swilley