The flags fly proudly each day at SCVi Charter School — and now they fly in a brand new landscaped flag courtyard created as a patriotic tribute by a soon-to-be Eagle Scout who coordinated more than 850 volunteer hours to make it happen.
Adam Miller, a senior at SCVi, the founding campus of iLEAD Schools, officially dedicated the new flag courtyard and presented new flags to the school earlier this month in a special ceremony honoring Patriot Day, the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
“What a moving gift for Adam to give to our school,” said Upper School Director Kimberly Matthes. “This took a long time to complete and we were so proud to officially dedicate the flag courtyard in a special assembly with all of our K through 12 students.”
Miller, a six-year SCVi student who led the dedication ceremony clad in his Scout’s uniform, raised nearly $9,000, navigated the design review and approval process, and wrangled donations of construction equipment and materials to create the new courtyard with landscaping, three flag poles and custom bricks that bear the names and personal messages of donors.
“I wanted to do a meaningful project for the school to give back for all that it has done for me,” Miller told his assembled schoolmates at the dedication ceremony. “I first met with iLEAD Facilities Director Elaine Williamson, who presented me with the idea of the flagpole courtyard, and it was exactly what I was looking for.”
Miller’s work on the project began when he was in the 10th grade, and included designing an architectural blueprint and models, meetings with school leaders, and permit approval meetings with the county Building and Safety Department.
“I decided to raise money and promote the project by selling engraved bricks that would be included in the finished courtyard,” said Miller, who stood, with models of the project, in front of SCVi before and after school every day for three and a half months, selling brick engravings to raise the needed funds.
At the dedication ceremony, Miller thanked his friends and family, Boy Scout Troop 609 and the Serranos Chapter of the Order of the Arrow, as well as the many individuals and businesses that provided support to the project.
The ceremony also included patriotic readings from SCVi students Abby Blasberg and Bella Cario, the singing of the national anthem by Cario’s sister Gabby Cario, and presentations of commendations to Miller from representatives of U.S. Rep. Steve Knight and Assemblyman Scott Wilk.
It was the culmination of two years of preparation and a week of hands-on construction work.
“This summer I was finally able to build the project over seven days with the help of approximately 50 volunteers who worked for over 500 combined hours,” Miller said. “The planning and fundraising took an additional 350 hours for a total of 850 hours over the entire course of this project.”
“Those estimates may be conservative,” said Amber Raskin, co-founder of iLEAD Schools, who noted that Miller put a great deal of his own time into the project over the course of his sophomore and junior years.
Raskin added that Miller’s project tied in well with the school’s educational philosophy. “The project of course is a way for Adam to work toward his goals as an Eagle Scout,” she said, “but it’s also been a terrific educational experience that exemplifies the benefits of project-based learning. Adam took on a major project, and he did an amazing job on it.”
The flag courtyard dedication ceremony was highlighted by the raising of the flags, complete with color guard. Miller presented Raskin, Matthes and Lower School Director Lisa Latimer with three brand new flags: A California flag, a newly designed flag representing iLEAD Schools, and of course the stars and stripes.
After the color guard hoisted the flags, they were immediately lowered to half-staff in commemoration of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. Miller then led all those assembled in the very first pledge of allegiance at the new flag courtyard, two years in the making.
Miller added: “Though it was hard work, it has been a terrific learning opportunity for me and my family.”
SCVi Charter School, at 28060 Hasley Canyon Road in Castaic, offers project-based K-12 curriculum and student-led assessment with global and culturally diverse influences. The tuition-free charter school, the founding campus of iLEAD Schools, emphasizes an inquiry-based, learner-centered approach to education. SCVi’s primary goal is to help learners lead a successful and fulfilled life while contributing to the world around them. More information about SCVi and iLEAD Schools is available at www.ileadschools.org.