Turlock High School senior Jacob Galvan may be graduating next spring, but his impact on campus will be felt by all of the senses long after he leaves.
Students returning to school as the pandemic continues now have a place to unwind and relax courtesy of Galvan, who organized the installation of a sensory garden near the school’s rally court for his Eagle Scout project. The aroma of mint and lavender plants coupled with soft foxtails and wind chimes blowing in the wind create a space where Bulldogs can breathe, Galvan said, while stimulating the five senses.
With Blue and Gold features throughout, the sensory garden invites visitors to walk along a stepping stone pathway complete with a small bridge and dry river of stones, or to take a seat on one of the provided benches. Eventually, THS art students will work together to paint a mural on the garden wall.
“It's going to be my last year here, so I wanted to leave a mark,” Galvan said. “It's a great mark to leave and it could inspire people. They may come here and think, ‘He was able to do something like this?’ and maybe they can do the same.”
Galvan hopes that the nearby Special Education classes can utilize the sensory garden, whether they’re relaxing in the space or helping to tend to its many plants. The school’s physical training courses can use the garden as well, he added, by using the various types of terrain and surfaces for rehabilitation. Thanks to its proximity to the campus rally court, where students gather for meals and other events, the garden will be front and center for those in search of a place to embrace their inner Zen.
In order to become an Eagle Scout, the highest honor in the Boy Scouts of America, Galvan had to earn countless merit badges over the years and complete this one, final project. While he led the charge, the sensory garden was truly a team and community effort. Galvan’s fellow Turlock Troop 451 members — and their new girls unit — helped install the foliage and landscaping features of the garden, many of which were donated by local organizations like Denair Lumber, The Greenery Nursey, ACE Hardware, Lowe’s, California Landscape Design, the Turlock Lions Club and more.
“This just shows that the local community is willing to help other organizations and other small projects to make the community a better place,” Galvan said.
Galvan said his years of experience in BSA have provided him with countless life experiences, and to reach the rank of Eagle Scout is the result of plenty of hard work. For youngsters looking to both make an impact and learn useful skills along the way, the longtime scout recommended joining BSA.
“There are a lot of great features of becoming a Boy Scout,” Galvan said. “It’s really just training people how to grow up and become men and women in the real world.”
Following his senior year as a Bulldog, Galvan plans on attending Stanislaus State where he’ll major in Computer Science. On those days where his college classes seem too stressful to handle, he knows he’ll have a place to unwind that’s just across town.