Lucas Towers, left, and Chance Brooks, members of the Spruce Mountain High School National Honor Society, build the framework for a raised bed garden May 14 in Jay. Six new beds behind the middle school in Jay will be used to grow produce for the local food pantry. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

JAY — Continuing a family tradition, Spruce Mountain High School junior Lucas Towers has spearheaded a National Honor Society community service project to rebuild the raised garden beds behind the middle school.

“The beds were broken down a few weeks ago,” society adviser Kyle Mclellan said May 14. “Lucas did some amazing fundraising, got about $2,000 for supplies to revitalize the garden beds.”

A rededication ceremony is planned for the fall, Mclellan said.

National Honor Society members, from left, Emma Towers, Leah Burgess and Faith Maurais of Spruce Mountain High School build the framework for a raised garden bed May 14 behind the middle school in Jay. Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser

“I have been so impressed with this effort,” he noted. “Lucas went above and beyond. It is very encouraging, the start of some good things to come over the next few years.”

Ten years ago National Honor Society student Trevor Doiron started the garden project and the National Honor Society has continued with it ever since, Lucas’ mother, Lynelle Morin-Towers, wrote in a recent email.

Only four of six raised beds were planted last year, Mclellan said.


The six new beds will soon be planted with vegetables and flowers, then maintained through the summer by society members and the produce donated to the food pantry, he noted. Sunflowers will probably be planted again; they could be seen from down the road last year, he added.

Raised beds maintained by SMHS NHS members show wear after nine years of use. Submitted photo

In May, Lucas and other society members Leah Burgess, Lily Bailey, Kaila Godbey, Anna Plourde, Ella Plourde, Chance Brooks, Sam Perkins, Faith Maurais and Emma Towers, Lucas’ sister, tore apart the old beds. Mclellan and Lucas’ dad, Chris Towers, also helped.

Building and installing the new beds was completed by the three Tower family members, Brooks, Burgess, Maurais and Mclellan.

“This project is important to me because we get to donate the produce to people in need,” Lucas wrote in an email. “It’s enjoyable seeing the ‘fruits of our labor’ — tending to the garden, watching the garden grow, and then celebrating a good harvest.

“We keep track of our donations to the food bank by weighing each of our deliveries, he said. “Last summer, we donated approximately 125 pounds of produce. Before we plant seeds this year, we will be adding in some compost to the beds and mulch around the beds to enhance the way they look.”

Tri-Town Ministerial Association Food Bank in the St. Rose of Lima Community Center receives and distributes the produce, Lucas wrote.


“I sent an email to many local businesses in the tri-town area explaining the project and the need for monetary donations to cover the supplies for building the new garden beds,” Lucas wrote.

Several businesses and churches responded, including TnT Landscaping, Main-Land Development, Hilltop Collision Center, St. Rose of Lima Church, Maurais and Sons, Berry Fruit Farm, Wood Pallet Warehouse, Pallet One, Beans Corner Baptist Church and North Livermore Baptist Church, he wrote.

“Over the past few years, I have tended to this garden over the summer and it has produced very successful harvests, which we donated to our town’s local food pantry,” Lucas wrote. “I began helping with the garden when my older sister, Lilly, was in the NHS. Once I became a member of the NHS in December of 2020, I volunteered to be the head gardener since I had experience, and the former head gardener was graduating.

For years the National Honor Society at Spruce Mountain High School in Jay has maintained a community garden behind the middle school, also in Jay. Submitted photo 2021

“Over the last year, the garden beds started to show many signs of wear and tear. Many of the garden beds had exposed and rotten walls, and deteriorating wood. Almost every garden bed was almost to the point where they could not be used. This garden has not been renovated since its opening 10 years ago. Since this is the garden’s 10th anniversary this spring, I thought it was appropriate and necessary for some renovations.

“At the beginning of the year, Mr. Mclellan asked us to think of a service learning project that we wanted to participate in for the coming school year. It just seemed to make sense that I would continue working with the garden, and thought it would be good to try to renovate it,” Lucas continued. “I expressed my interest in renovating the garden to Mr. Mclellan at the start of the school year, and he thought that this was a good and ambitious project. He advised me to start planning early so we could have the funds ready by late spring. I began reaching out to organizations at the beginning of March, and was so surprised that I got such quick replies. I had over $500 in donations in just the first week after I sent the email. I was honored that the community was so willing, and didn’t hesitate to donate toward the project.”

More than $1,400 was raised with about $1,200 used to purchase materials for the new beds from Ware Butler in Livermore Falls, Lucas wrote. Seeds and supplies to maintain the new beds will be purchased and with any remaining funds, he is hoping to have a sign made listing the donors for the 10th anniversary of the Tri-Town Community Garden.

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