Senior staff writer
Girl Scout Olivia Keenan’s community service project of building picnic tables is serving two purposes: It’s benefiting her school, Beech Grove Middle, while qualifying her for a Scout Silver Award.
Olivia, an accomplished eighth-grader and member of Troop 758, outlined the project, step by step, although soliciting materials and funds was a bit foreboding.
“I am not used to working on large projects that are ongoing,” she said. “This one involved a lot that was somewhat scary; sometimes I wasn’t sure of the next step. I had to raise funds to purchase the tables to be built and that meant writing letters and going to see business owners.”
The tables are to be placed in the school’s courtyard, according to Assistant Principal Ryan Morgan.
“This project speaks volumes about who she is as a person. She is willing to volunteer her time to organize a community service project to benefit teachers and students,” Morgan said. “Our courtyard is also home to gardens where our students plant fruits and vegetables. The tables will be a work area for students as well. Teachers will also have the opportunity to use the tables for lunch outdoors.”
The project’s cost is $628, including $490 for the yellow pine wood. The names of the sponsoring individuals and companies will be etched on the table tops: Dr. Daniel Maddigan, D.D.S.; English and Japanese Tutoring Services, the Benedict Inn Retreat & Conference Center, Ball Park Pizza, Dog Watch, Beech Grove Bowl and the Lowe’s on Emerson Avenue.
The wood arrived more than a week ago. Olivia has organized students to help build the tables, which should be completed before May 26, when students are dismissed for summer vacation.
“It made it easier to contact businesses because this is a community project and also one that would benefit the school where I go to classes,” she said. “It was hard to see my next step.”
Olivia said she enjoys studying math. Her ability to think logically helped in developing the five-page prospectus: “Picnic Tables for Beech Grove Middle School.”
Olivia is the school’s reigning two-year spelling bee champion and has qualified for regionals. She has earned straight A’s this year and is active in the Science and Writing clubs and Academic Pursuit.
“Olivia is an incredible young lady who has made a positive impact on Beech Grove Middle School,” Morgan said. “To go along with her academic success, Olivia displays her passion for learning on a daily basis by not missing a day of school. Olivia will advance to high school next year so she will not be able to enjoy the fruits of her labor. She knew this going into the project.”
She has been a Scout since beginning as a Daisy at St. Jude Catholic School.
Her parents are Beth and Kelly Keenan. Her mother is a private tutor who teaches English to adults and children from other countries. Her dad is employed by United Parcel Service. Olivia has an older brother, Colin, and a younger sister, Fiona.
Olivia is interested in a career in science, technology, environment and/or mathematics. She attended a summer camp in technology with other students and Beech Grove Middle School tech integration specialist Michelle Allee.