The Hendersonville Kiwanis Club devoted Saturday morning to a cleanup at Balfour School that will provide students an outdoor space during lunch just in time for warm weather.
Fourteen Kiwanians raked leaves, pulled vines and spruced up the area. Balfour cleanup days were started by Chat Jones, the longtime Kiwanian who adopted the alternative school and encouraged the club to donate baby diapers, wipes and other supplies. Jones died last October.
Kiwanian Corum Smith, whose mother played basketball for Balfour and who attended the school through the eighth grade and served as principal, recalled that Civilian Conservation Corps workers built stone walls and steps at the property in the 1930s. The school dates to 1926-27 and was rebuilt after a 1970 arson fire heavily damaged it.
"The cafeteria's too small for the number of students I have now, so I wanted to make this kind of an outdoor dining area," said principal Kent Parent, who helped at the cleanup as the Gator driver towing trailerloads of leaves, roots and vines from a small shady area. Balfour has 187 students, including 60 cross-enrolled at another high school and taking English as a second language, firefighting, auto mechanics, health services and other trades.
Students congregate outside now at lunch, he said. Ace Hardware and Lowe's each donated a picnic table but the area was muddy, thick with leaves and roots and uninviting. "This will all be new to them Monday," Parent said.