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By Laura Burbridge
Members of the Madison County community gathered on Saturday, November 5, 2016 on a beautiful fall day to dedicate the new Courtyard at the High School and to celebrate the life of Lane Warren with a fountain in his honor.
Over this past summer, Mr. Gary Wintersgill, principal of Madison County High School was determined to renovate the senior courtyard, which had been neglected for many years. Through the cooperative efforts of dedicated personnel at the school, in the Madison County Public Schools administration, the School Board, and community businesses, such as Greenscapes Nursery and Garden Shoppe and Plow & Hearth, the senior courtyard was transformed. “This space is not only for seniors to use for lunch but serves as an outdoor classroom and extension of the library for all students,” said Wintersgill.
Brent Lohr, Greenscapes owner who designed the Courtyard, said, “I appreciated working with Gary Wintersgill and Jeanette Alexander. We wanted the courtyard to be accessible to all students—with wheelchairs, if necessary. Anything extra I could do, I did.”
Lane was a senior at Madison County High School when he died after a tragic car accident in October, 2013. His family set up the Lane E. Warren (LEW) Memorial Fund through the Madison County Education Foundation (MCEF), for gifts honoring Lane.
In attendance to celebrate the dedication were members of Lane’s family from North Carolina and Northern Virginia, Lane’s former teachers, classmates and friends. One of those friends was Alyssa Edwards, who miraculously survived the accident and now lives out of state. Ms. Edwards said, “I wasn’t able to attend any of Lane’s memorials when he passed away because I was hospitalized and recovering from my own injuries. I was determined that I wasn’t going to miss this one.”
Mr. Wintersgill spoke briefly about the how this project came together and thanked the organizations and staff who made possible the courtyard renovation and fountain installation. He presented the plaque that will go on the wall behind the fountain indicating its dedication in memory of Lane Warren.
Barbara Kres Beach, President of the Madison County Education Foundation stated, “The Warren family chose this beautiful fountain to remember Lane and this courtyard to give it a home. The fountain flows as Lane’s life flowed. He explored limitless possibilities in himself and in the world around him; he explored relationships with caring teachers, fellow students and friends. This courtyard is now—and will be—a special place at the Madison High School we love.”
On behalf of Lane’s family and donors to the LEW Memorial Fund, Lisa Warren stated, “We are really honored to be able to donate the fountain in honor of Lane. The renovated courtyard is such a beautiful and welcoming space. I know Lane would have loved it when he was a student at MCHS. The fall of 2013 was a very special time in Lane’s life, and I like to think his energy from that time will continue to flow and be felt in the courtyard, especially with the fountain to remind people of him.”
Wintersgill said that since the courtyard has been renovated, the students have been wonderful stewards by taking care of the space with care and respect. He added, “I hope that every class will enjoy this courtyard and to add to it for future generations.”