Phoenix-area elementary students dedicate greenhouse to late classmate

Jan 28, 2016, 7:00 AM

Heritage Elementary School students stand proudly in front of the plants in a greenhouse dedicated ...

Heritage Elementary School students stand proudly in front of the plants in a greenhouse dedicated to a late classmate. (Photo: Heritage Elementary School)

(Photo: Heritage Elementary School)

PHOENIX — An elementary school in Glendale, Arizona, has dedicated a greenhouse to a student who passed away in a car accident.

Students at Heritage Elementary School were devastated when sixth-grade student Tyre Butler died in 2013.

Shortly after, school principal Justin Dye said Tyre’s friends wanted to honor their fallen classmate.

“His friends came to me and said, ‘Mr. Dye, what can we do to really commemorate Tyre,’” Dye said.

Eventually, the students decided they wanted to fix up a greenhouse on school property and name it the Tyre Butler Memorial Greenhouse.

“It needed a couple improvements and a few windows were cracked,” Dye said. “(The students) took it upon themselves (and) organized a community work day.”

Dye said 100 people volunteered to fix up the greenhouse, which is now fully functional and is being heavily used by students at the school, many of whom are growing cabbage plants and taking care of them on a daily basis.

Tyre's bench. (Photo: Heritage Elementary School)

Tyre’s bench. (Photo: Heritage Elementary School)

“You might think it’s just gardening, but it’s not,” Dye said. “They’re just real life skills, even down to thinking skills and responsibility.”

Among the students growing cabbage plants is third-grader Aniyah. She is Tyre’s sister.

Aniyah said one of her favorite parts of the greenhouse is a memorial bench with Tyre’s name on it.

“It’s special because that bench has his name on it and has words about him,” Aniyah said.

Also on that bench is a card that Aniyah wrote to her late brother. She said it makes her happy the greenhouse has been named in his honor.

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Phoenix-area elementary students dedicate greenhouse to late classmate