Garden of Cartons

The WBHS Literary Garden has just won big!


On Thursday, May 19th, West Bloomfield High School (WBHS) teachers Jennifer McQuillan, Karen Matynowski and Sondra Hoffman were awarded a $1,000 prize for their entry in the Cartons2Gardens contest. This is a nationwide event that inspires schools to create works of art and enhance their buildings, using mainly re-purposed juice and milk cartons.  

Classes involved this contest included McQuillan’s Honors American Literature students, Hoffman’s ceramics and drawing classes, and Matynowski’s Advanced Placement Environmental Science (APES) classes. The students of these three classes collaborated, under Mrs. McQuillan’s leadership, to enhance the courtyard for competition and enjoyment. Matynowski’s APES students worked to create irrigation systems for the Literary Garden’s plants with the repurposed cartons. Hoffman’s 3-D Art students researched different types of flowers and used leftover cartons to make fake flowers for the garden. Finally, Honors American Literature students used a majority of the cartons to decorate them with inspirational quotes from the American authors featured in McQuillan’s Literary Garden. The materials students used included paint, sealing glaze, re-purposed magazine words and pictures, recycled wood pallets and wood scraps, recycled garden hose, glue, sandpaper, tape, and twine.

Mrs. McQuillan has been working on this project for many months and has devoted much of her free time to its creation. She commenced this project all the way back in October, and ever since then it has really bloomed. Now that it has finally come together and even been recognized via the Cartons2Gardens contest, these teachers could not only be more proud of themselves and each other, but also the students and the West Bloomfield High School community.

Prairie Farms representatives David Orlando and Jamie Steinman attended the event to award the Literary Garden.  They were quite impressed by the students’ creations and how WBHS was able to come together as a school community to make this project happen. Prairie Farms also awarded WBHS students and staff an ice cream social at the end of the year to celebrate their hard work!

The garden is not only making a difference in the lives of the teachers and students who constructed it, but also it is impacting people from all over the West Bloomfield community. The objective of this project is to help kids who might be in need of some comforting words of wisdom, hence why all the students placed their favorite inspiring quotes from the curriculum on their cartons. The garden is making a change at WBHS by giving students hope to carry on.