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Howell grads, retirees will be honored with commemorative bricks

HOWELL – Graduates and retirees from the Howell K-8 School District will be honored with commemorative bricks that will be placed in a memory garden at each of the district’s schools.

“We are attempting to put a brick garden at every building in the district,” said Mary Cerretani, who is a member of the Howell Township Education Foundation.

At present, there is a brick garden at Howell Middle School North and at Howell Middle School South. If the foundation is successful in creating a brick garden at all 12 schools, the engraved bricks will be relocated to the appropriate building.

Superintendent of Schools Joseph Isola said that in the past, individuals who retired received a plaque from the Board of Education and the Howell Township Education Association (HTEA), which represents district employees. The engraved bricks for retirees are funded by the district and the HTEA in lieu of a plaque.

He said that through the efforts of the Howell Township Education Foundation, a memory garden has been created at each of the district’s two middle schools.

“Bricks serve as foundations and I think it is symbolic,” Isola said, adding that the employees’ years of service in the district “has built a foundation for us.”

Isola said a brick will be placed in the appropriate garden to memorialize a retiree’s length of service. Each individual will receive a replica desk paperweight.

Isola thanked the HTEA, the Howell Township Administrative Council and the school board for partnering with the education foundation to change the way retirees are honored.

The foundation began in 2005 and is a nonprofit volunteer organization which raises funds and provides grants throughout the school district. The foundation runs the brick garden program.

Laurence Gurman served with the foundation from the time of its inception until he won a seat on the school board in 2016. He is now the board’s liaison to the foundation.

“Now, teachers and other people retiring from our district will have recognition of their service and contribution to the district by having a brick by which they will be remembered,” he said.

Gurman said the foundation consists of volunteers who are representatives of the community, meaning beyond just parents of children who attend school in Howell. The foundation’s directors attempt to involve residents and businesses operators who want to help the community’s schools.

Teachers are invited to apply for grants which are used to offer innovative programs in the classroom, he said. The foundation awards between 10 and 12 grants a year. The maximum grant is $1,000.

A commemorative brick costs about $75 and its purchase will help to support the grants. Students, teachers or any other district employee may be honored with the placement of a brick at the appropriate school.

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