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GCHS student builds outdoor classroom at Rutherford School

By Laurin Stroud


A Gibson County High School student has built an outdoor classroom at Rutherford School.

Reese McVay has spent the last 11 years in Boy Scouts. To qualify for his Eagle Scout rank, he had to complete a community service project by his 18th birthday.

“Reese knew he wanted to do something in memory of his friend Andrew Alexander, who passed away a few years ago,” Jennifer McVay, Reese’s mother said. “They were both the same age, were good friends, were in Scouts together, and would have been working on their Eagle Scout projects at the same time.”

Reese chose to build an outdoor classroom behind Rutherford School.

“Reese thought it would be cool to have an outdoor classroom located at the school, and he wanted to leave something behind,” Jennifer said. “Part of his project was to get donations. When Reese presented his idea to the local school board, they offered to pay for the project in full. We are very thankful for their generous donation.”

The outdoor classroom is located behind the school at the bottom on the hill, beside the fence. There are several benches and a sign that opens up to reveal a chalkboard.

“We are working on getting an etched sign and a flower arrangement made to signify that it is in memory of Andrew,” Jennifer said.

The project took about a total of six weeks to complete.

“We started in fall of 2019, but we had to stop for a while due to COVID-19,” Jennifer said. “The other Scout members helped build the project, but Reese oversaw everything.”

Rutherford School teachers are grateful for Reese’s creation, especially as they remind their students to social distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We are very proud of Reese and what he has accomplished,” said Jody Hinson, Rutherford principal. “This is a great addition to our school. The teachers and students are already utilizing it. It has been a great outdoor experience now since we have been social distancing. This is something that both students and teachers can enjoy for years to come.”

Reese is a junior at Gibson County High School. His dad and uncles are Eagle Scouts.

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