By Joyce Lavene
The doors of Queen’s Grant High School opened in August of 2007 with 120 students in grades nine and ten. The property where the school is located was once a country  club, according to principal Dr. Michael Smith. There was a swimming pool that was filled in and it is there that Smith would like to see an outside courtyard.
Smith asked the art classes of the school to come up with drawings and ideas for the courtyard. Art teacher Shelley Tibbet wrote the grant with their help. Christine Keziah, another art teacher, helped out. Soon they were looking through spectacular drawings of ponds with alligators, a tiki bar where students would get their lunches and a brick bench with a fountain.
“We gave the assignment to all of the art classes. We broke up into two groups and they came up with some pretty wild drawings. I took all of them and tried to come up with something we could do,” Tibbett said.
Of course those ideas had to be pared down a little. But when they came up with what they felt was a winning design, Tibbet submitted it to the Lowe’s Toolbox for Education program.
Store Manager Phillip Gaddy, with the local Lowe’s Home Improvement store, was happy to team up with the school for the plan. “This program is available during two cycles of every year,” he said. “Schools are able to get more than one grant in a year. we have had schools that received two last year. Applicants sign up and submit. All applications are reviewed by a committee.”
Queen’s Grant received a check for $3,300 for their project. The local Lowe’s Store in Matthews, also helped Bain Elementary school, Butler High School and Mint Hill Middle with projects for their students.
Now students and teachers will spread mulch they received from the Mecklenburg County Landfill and put in 25 picnic tables, almost completely assembled by Lowe’s, for the courtyard which will be for students in grades 9, 10 and 11. This will give them room to eat lunch outside on nice days.
“This is a wonderful program that Lowe’s has to help schools that need amenities not in the school budget,” said Mayor Ted Biggers who is Chairman of the Board for the school and one of the founders. “Charter schools are especially in need of grants like this because they get no funding from the state.”
Queen’s Grant High School was founded as an alternative to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools with a smaller learning environment characterized by an emphasis on academic achievement.
The Queen’s Grant tradition is school leadership committed to recruiting highly qualified teachers, motivating each student to personal and academic excellence, and preparing students for post-secondary learning and success in life.