HUNTERSVILLE – Duke Energy partnered with Lake Norman Charter fifth-grade teachers, students and parents May 2 to beautify the school campus.

The utility company and LNCS have partnered for six consecutive years. Jeffrey Riggins, a Duke Energy employee whose son attends the school, started the project.

Two hundred fifth-graders participated in the daylong project. Every two hours, 50 students went outside to plant shrubs and flowers around the campus. 

“The focus of the project leans more towards planting than it does trash pick-up,” said Sara Lay, Lake Norman Charter community relations director. “The students moved and spread 30 cubic yards of fresh mulch around the outdoor marquis and tree beds.”

Fifth-grader Jennifer Schimmoller enjoyed maneuvering the wheelbarrows around the most.

“We put down mulch for the trees and bushes and scooped up the old, black, rubbery mulch,” she said. “I feel like I was setting up a good experience for visitors who come to our school."

Duke Energy sent nine people and $2,000 to buy the mulch and plants. Around 20 LNCS parents and Duke employees provided gardening tools.

Deloitte, a consulting company, donated money to help fund the project. Sunbelt Rentals supplied six wheelbarrows. 

“Our school motto is ‘Together we learn, lead and serve.’ This project clearly demonstrates that motto,” Lay said. “And our students get the opportunity to serve our school, taking on leadership skills.”

Fifth-grade student Amias Williams said although volunteering was tough at the beginning, he feels he made a difference.

“The mulch makes the plants look more colorful,” he said.

Doing a project like this is a great way for groups and communities to make a tangible difference, Lay said.

“The whole project instills pride in students,” Lay said. “They learn to take an investment in improving their school.”