St. Emily flower garden raises funds for Ukraine

  • St. Emily National Junior Honor Society students place plants and painted rocks in the "Flowers for Freedom" garden in front of the Mount Prospect school.

    St. Emily National Junior Honor Society students place plants and painted rocks in the "Flowers for Freedom" garden in front of the Mount Prospect school. Courtesy of B. Eiffes

Posted6/29/2022 10:43 AM

St. Emily School's National Junior Honor Society created a "Flowers for Freedom" garden outside the school's front doors.

Students cleared out the old foliage, enriched the soil and planted yellow and purple flowers. Among the flowers, the students then added hand-painted rocks. The St. Emily community was offered the opportunity to purchase the rocks for the garden, which the students decorated and added the donor's name. Proceeds from the rock donations will go to Ukraine aid.


The NJHS students sponsored two additional activities this spring to raise awareness and funds to aid the people of Ukraine. St. Emily's NJHS sponsored an out of uniform day in April. Students brought in $1 and were allowed to dress in yellow and blue, the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

The NJHS students also made and sold yellow and blue ribbons placed behind an American flag lapel pin. Through these projects, the group hoped to raise $1,500, and at last count had raised more than $1,800.

These projects were prompted by a Zoom call between students and two nuns who are in Ukraine. The students heard firsthand the difficulties and sorrow facing the people every day.

"Seeing what's going on in Ukraine, I feel we should do anything we can to help. When I see the amount of torment and fear they are experiencing, I feel as leaders of the school, we should show our support in whatever way we are able," said Val Varnasidis, a NJHS officer.

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NJHS officer Ava Alkass said, "Our journey is all about helping others. When we see people in pain or in need, as in Ukraine, it is our job to help them."

Jamie Laskiewicz, another NJHS officer, added, "I'm glad to be able to do this project. NJHS is all about service to others. Helping the Ukrainians is who we are as an organization, and it is part of our job as Christians to help others."

"The purpose of National Junior Honor Society is to create enthusiasm for scholarship, stimulate a desire to serve others, promote leadership, develop character and encourage citizenship," said Regina Kinasz, St. Emily NJHS moderator.

"We focus on service as a main tenet of our organization. We aim to serve the school, the local community, and the global community."

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