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Community gives a “New Look” to Chinook Elementary School


Legislator, teachers, parents and students plant shrubs, paint and landscape

ANCHORAGE – Almost 100 Chinook Elementary students, parents, teachers and PTA members rolled up their sleeves with local residents and Representative Bob Buch (D-Anchorage) today to spruce up the Chinook Elementary School grounds. Participants dubbed the event “A New Look for Chinook.”

In what was a day of hard work, camaraderie and tangible improvements, the volunteers planted shrubs and flowers, painted the school sign, and built a raised flower box at the entrance to the school.

“This has truly been a community effort,” said Buch. “The students, PTA, neighbors and local businesses really came together and can be proud of what we’ve been able to get done today.”

“I’ve shoveled lots of dirt,” said Chinook student, Isaac Weber. “But it’s been fun and it looks way better now.”

Buch secured $20,000 in the state capital budget to continue the work started today. If it remains after the governor makes his vetoes, the money will go to more landscaping, a new flagpole and repaving the front pathway.

Buch invited the students and community to come together to get the job done after former governor Sarah Palin twice vetoed funds to improve the school grounds.

“Since I arrived at Chinook, I’ve heard how nice it would be to make this school look great,” said Anita Stevens, Chinook’s principal. “It’s so exciting to see it really happening. Thanks so much to everyone who has helped.”

The PTA organized volunteers and raised money, and the Chinook Student Council voted unanimously to support “A New Look for Chinook.” The Anchorage School District assigned a liaison to help coordinate the project, a local landscaping firm donated plans, labor and equipment, and Alaskan artist Ray Troll donated T-shirts commemorating the event.

“People have shown some true generosity. We’ve been able to do so much more than we thought because people keep stepping up and pitching in, making small miracles happen,” said Buch. “The inspiration and sense of pride have been contagious.”
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