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Vivian Sade | The Journal Gazette
Sitting in Eagle Garden in front of Churubusco High School, from left, Shawn McCoy, Travis LeFever, Jessica Tartaglia, Lee Blake and Lisa Perryman talk and remember their friends, Andy Spencer and Megan Young, who died in 2009.
Education notebook

Garden memorializes Churubusco students

Offering a reflective and peaceful place of study, a means of closure and a way to help communities and students deal with the death of a child, memorial gardens are finding their way into schools throughout the U.S., including northeast Indiana.

The beauty of the gardens is bittersweet, but the students like the idea of having a place to reflect and remember their friends.

“Before, when someone died, there was no way to remember and honor them. But with this garden there’s a nice place to go – a place to remember,” said Jessica Tartaglia, 20, of Churubusco.

Tartaglia was in high school two years ago when Eagle Garden was built in front of Churubusco High School. The garden was constructed after the tragic death of two teens the year before.

Andrew “Andy” Spencer, 17, and Megan Christine Young, 16, died when their car left the road and rolled over, landing on its top in a creek filled with water – only a few miles from Young’s home.

The tragedy shattered the community.

Churubusco is a small school where everyone knows everyone. Tartaglia was friends of both teens.

The project brought a heartbroken community together, and many who had also suffered through the death of their own child pitched in to donate money and time to the garden.

Eagle Garden’s trees, plants and benches intertwine with a brick walkway designated as “Our Guardian Eagle Walkway,” honoring those who have died as well as people who have dedicated themselves to the school and community. The most recent addition was a stunning wooden gazebo with dedications to Young and Spencer and others.


•Lowell D. Caulder of Fort Wayne, a 2005 Horatio Alger National Scholar, has been awarded the 2012 Dennis R. Washington Achievement Scholarship. Caulder graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009 with a degree in business and a minor in urban economic development. He is pursuing a master’s in social entrepreneurship from the Harvard Business School.

•The Woodlan FFA Chapter was named the three-star winner in the National FFA Chapter award program. The three-star rating is the highest level of accomplishment an FFA chapter may achieve.

•Nearly 16,000 semifinalists were named in the 58th annual National Merit Scholarship Program, including the following northeast Indiana seniors: Angola, Sarah Claudy; Canterbury, Steve Li, Catherine O’Ma lley and David Pan; home school, Marie Langford; Homestead, Maxwell Dvorak, Hanita Epstein, Madyson Holtzinger, Kevin Kusisto, Weilin Liao, Alison Mansfield, Emily Muha, Geena Roth and Danielle Wildrick; Bishop Luers, Sean McManus and Nancy McNamara; Snider, Maria Nunez and Isaac Wappes; Warsaw, Alek Jansen; DeKalb, Sarah Griffin; and Huntington North, Morgan Goetz.

Ivy Tech

•An Ivy Tech open house will be from noon to 7 p.m. today at the Ashley Community Center, 500 S. Gonsor Ave.

Indiana Tech

Indiana Tech’s undergraduate program deadline is Friday. Session 3 runs Oct. 7 through Nov. 10. Call 1-800-288-1766 for information on programs, admissions, and registration or visit


•The fourth annual Nearly Naked Mile will be Wednesday beginning at 6 p.m. with registration, followed by judging of costumes (or lack thereof), with the actual walk or run beginning at 7 p.m. The first 200 to register online will receive a free T-shirt. Register online at

•A free lecture “Political Perspectives and the Future of Urban Public Space,” with Matthew Kubik and Patrick Ashton, will be at 7 p.m. Thursday in Neff Hall, Room 101. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Education Notebook appears Mondays. To have an item listed, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne, IN 46802-0088; fax 461-8893; or email at least two weeks before the desired publication. Dean’s lists, honor society initiations, courses with fees and graduation and internship announcements are not accepted.