Breathing life into Skaneateles Courtyard

The late Herm Gregg is remembered at SCS

Many of the students who are working in the Skaneateles High School Courtyard this weekend never had the chance to meet Holland Chauncey Gregg IV, but they will feel his presence as they start making their longtime dream a reality.

After three years of planning and fund raising in an effort to turn the barren gravel area between new wings of the high school and middle school into a place of beauty, students received their biggest "gift" to date from Holland's parents, Patience Brewster and Holland Gregg III.

The Greggs thought the courtyard was a fitting place for a memorial to their son, who graduated from Skaneateles High School in 1997. Holland loved his time at Skaneateles High School, and he loved the outdoors. "He loved every minute of his short but dynamic life and the people in it," said his mother. He died in 2005 at age 26 after a three-year battle with Hodgkin's disease.

Students will tackle their first workdays of this spring season on Saturday and Sunday knowing they have received generous community support. The Greggs' donation of $10,000, to be made in two parts, was the "turning point" for the project, said Rick Garrett, science teacher and advisor to the Environmental Club, which is leading the effort. "It's when the students realized this dream could actually come true.

When complete, the 150 by 50 feet area will include a butterfly garden, two sitting areas, a sculpture, perennial gardens and a special water feature.

The Greggs donation has spurred teachers, students and others to talk about the boy who is remembered as a real gift: happy spirited, athletic, very bright, and friendly.

"He was usually smiling; it was a kind, contented smile. He was a great kid," said his fifth grade teacher, Janet Fagal. "Herm was a wonderful student he was calm, yet spirited, enthusiastic and polite, friendly and happy. Herm loved life. He had many friends. He was such a 'centered' child for a ten year old, respectful of everyone and kind."

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