Special Education Garden Sprouts from Senior’s Eagle Scout Project


Photo Courtesy of Shivank Gupta

Gupta reached out to friends who he knew would be interested in giving back to the community. As an Assistant Senior Patrol leader in his troop with seven years of experience, he hopes to be able to commit to similar community projects in the future that extend past Boy Scouts.

Tiffany Wu, Co-News Editor

Stained red and polished with a weatherproof silicone gel coating, two meticulously constructed wooden frames sit outside the 900 building, awaiting soil, seeds, water and the fruition of various plants after careful nurture by special education students. 

When deciding on his Eagle Scout project, boy scout and senior Shivank Gupta initially dreamed of constructing a ticket booth situated at the front of the gym for fundraising and selling game tickets. However, to better accommodate the school’s needs, Gupta chose to create planters, starting a future gardening program.  

“I hope for the special education class and future classes down the line to be able to enjoy that garden, and to be able to pleasantly look at it,” Gupta said. “Mostly, it was for the special education class to enjoy certain things that we take for granted, like the ability to plant stuff in classes.”

Gupta created the gardening beds with a goal of serving the community in mind and received help in return as well. He attributes the satisfaction of seeing a finished product to inspiring his goals for the future. 

“There was an issue of transportation because the planters were so heavy,” Gupta said. “Luckily, our neighbors had a moving company and decided to help us out. Also, the staff at Portola was so eager to help me. The custodial staff came out to help us move them, and Leo especially helped us. Coach Smith was also especially supportive of my general Eagle Project by shooting out ideas for me to think about.” 

Gupta said he aspires to become a mechanical engineer, fulfilling his interests by attending a computer-aided design course at Irvine Valley College over the summer. 

“Woodworking and designing has always been a strong suit and a hobby of mine. I love that feeling you get when you put hard, manual labor into something that you know will be used for good. When you’re in the process of actually nailing, staining and cutting, you just have no desire to stop. Knowing that your product will be used in the future by people inspires you to make sure that the project is the best that it can be.”

The special education class will begin gardening as soon as soil is added to the beds.