Usually, when you think of a courtyard, images of clear open spaces with beautifully arranged plants come to mind. But in the case of the courtyards at CHS, they are seen as unroofed areas enclosed by crowded plants and unkempt weeds.
CHS prides itself on its hardworking students, maintaining impressive sports team, and the energy in school, but when it comes to the courtyards, it seems to be the very opposite. Many beneficial outcomes would result from maintaining the courtyards, including improved physical and mental health for both students and staff, but few efforts have been taken to beautify them.
The unsightly view of the courtyards is nothing close to the image that CHS wants to uphold. It shows a stark contrast between the never-ending upkeep of a perfect image inside the school and the lack of care for nature outside the school. This only affirms the cliché that maybe outer appearances aren’t always what they seem to be; CHS takes more pride in claiming they’re “beautifying” the courtyards while in reality, they’re leaving the vines to tangle themselves into a further mess that, if neatly maintained, could actually benefit the school and students..
The CHS Gardening Club seems to be maintaining the garden, but that is not enough considering there are only about ten members in the club. Change only occurs when multiple people put in effort and it will take more than ten dedicated people to maintain the courtyards.
If only a small percentage of CHS’ population tries to tackle the burden of maintaining the courtyard alone, only so much can be accomplished. But, if more members of our community lend a helping hand, CHS can have a space that serves as an oasis for both students and staff.
The first step is to find a way to get people involved. If the PTSA were to communicate to parents about days to help as well as ways to help in maintaining a welcoming aesthetic in the courtyards, the surplus of hands would help to bear the weight that the Gardening Club has been taking on.
The courtyards could become a space that has the capability to clear our minds and improve CHS daily
lives. If more students were to relax and study in the courtyards, they could be happier and less stressed.
According to a 2010 Harvard Health article, sunlight tends to elevate people’s moods, making them happier and more prone to laughter.
Not only do the outdoors improve moods and focus, nature can also lower the risk of depression, which is crucial as the high pace of performance of CHS is a huge stressor on students.
According to a 2014 Huffington Post article, psychologist Judith Heerwagon shared that spending time in nature, even just by looking at a garden or trees, has been shown to lower stress levels, even the scent of flowers such as jasmine, lilacs or roses appears to decrease stress and increase relaxation — in turn lowering depression and anxiety.
Last year during SOS day, one of the activities was cleaning up the courtyards. The only problem is, after the initial success of cleaning the courtyards, the cleaning was neither finished nor maintained.
Although it would be beneficial to clean the courtyards, it is a task that is much easier said than done. The amount of manpower and time fixing up the courtyards would consume is more than enough to deter students from helping. But, if more students around the school and others in the community come together, we can organize the courtyards into a place that is worth being proud of.
At a school as academically challenging as CHS, students deserve a space where they can unwind. Cleaning the courtyard will instill good work ethic in students, and at the end of their work, they can be proud of what they have accomplished.
The courtyards at CHS are an untapped source for relaxation and taking some pressure off of students. Letting the courtyards fall into disarray is not only detrimental to students’ mental health, but it also takes away from how CHS wishes to project itself as not only a school that challenges its students, but cares about them as well. Let’s take a stand CHS, and let’s bring back not only the soul of not the courtyards, but ourselves and our school.