Outdoor classroom dedicated at Vinton Elem.

By Crystal Price - bio | email

VINTON, LA (KPLC) - Vinton Elementary School dedicated a new outdoor classroom on Wednesday to a former student killed in a drunk driving accident a little more than a year ago.

Five-year old Garrett Vice was a kindergarten student at Vinton Elementary School when he died in the car accident on Interstate 210 in December 2008.

On Wednesday students, family, and community members gathered to remember Vice through the grand opening of the outdoor classroom that will serve as a new teaching mechanism at Vinton Elementary.

"We've been wanting to do this for some time now," said Kim Dowers, a teacher at Vinton Elementary School. "It's a great way to take the students outside of the four walls for a different learning atmosphere."

Teachers said students will use the gardening aspect of the outdoor classroom for different core subjects.

"They can have science class out here," said Dowers. "They can check out herbs for the science center, see which ones smell and how they grow different in the leaf system."

Garrett's parents said they couldn't be more proud of the dedication to their son.

"It does make us feel good that it actually inspired them to get out and build the garden that they had been talking about doing for a while," said Chris Vice, Garrett's father.

Through this new classroom students will have the opportunity to learn new things, while remembering those people from the past they will never forget.

"He did warm our hearts and he did bring a lot of smiles to a lot of faces," said Dowers. "He's going to continue to do that to his friends and to his community."

School officials said this is only the first phase of the outdoor classroom.

As time goes on officials hope to expand the sidewalks and add more areas for students to plant gardens.

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