Eagle Scout project dedicated to Elmira Notre Dame administrator
“Jennings Greenhouse” pays tribute to Karen Jennings for her years of service to the school. The dedication event included a prayer service led by Father John DeSocio, an Elmira native and senior priest in the Diocese of Rochester. A plaque presented to Jennings includes the inscription “Leave room in your garden for the angels to dance.”
Jennings, who is currently Notre Dame’s director of seventh and eighth grades, as well as guidance counselor for grades 7-9, has served at Notre Dame since 2012 after having taught at the former Holy Family Junior High School the previous 13 years. She also served as the interim head of school last year, guiding Notre Dame through the challenges of reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Also recognized on May 6 was Neal Moore, a sophomore at Notre Dame who constructed the greenhouse for his Eagle Scout project after Jennings suggested the possibility.
The dedication was part of Notre Dame’s continued celebration of Earth Day, which is observed annually on April 22. Funding for the greenhouse construction was made through a grant from Catholic Climate Covenant, an initiative based in Washington, D.C., that is supported by several national Catholic organizations.
According to a statement from Notre Dame High School, planned future projects involving the greenhouse will include growing native nectar and milkweed plants for the school’s on-campus monarch habitat; educational activities and projects for Notre Dame science students; and development of an on-campus community garden. In addition, grant monies will cover the purchase of a compost bin for cafeteria waste. The composting initiative will serve to educate Notre Dame’s student body about counteracting the “throwaway culture.”