I am an Action Team Captain and a freshman at The Seton Keough High School in Catonsville, Maryland. This November I was given the opportunity and honor to organize yet another event and continue my partnership with Civic Works and the community lot crew of Baltimore City.

The goal was to help transform what used to be the first colored school of Baltimore, Maryland, into a historic landmark and garden now known as Schoolhouse Garden. What was once a pile of rubble and trash filling an empty lot is now the home of a beautiful garden that houses fruit trees, hydrangeas, Black Eyed Susan’s and paving stones.

Nhjah Johnson Blog Post

Being able to help restore this littered lot with a dark past into an uplifting and beautiful place, made me feel empowered. My crew and I worked hours digging in the dirt, pulling weeds and planting flowers and trees. Although we left dirty, muddy and tired, it was all worth it.

When I planned this event, I wasn’t aware of the history of the site. I organized it because I felt it was going to be a fun and interesting thing for our group to participate in. Learning the history and having my team with me working together to restore and honor our nation’s progression and how far we have come made this event life changing. I feel so blessed to have the ability to choose, be friends with and partner with teammates from all different areas of the world, rich in culture and not having limitation.

I ask that all the people that live in this community visit and tour the area and farmers’ market in this historical place as I did. Just take a few extra minutes to look at the sights, enjoy the view or read the plaques and monuments as I had the opportunity to do recently.

While digging up the Historic Waverly area, I found a hidden treasure called HISTORY.

My advice to Action Team Captains:

Create partnerships. Dare to be different. Venture out and explore the treasures in your area. Encourage others to join in on the action and be a part of SOMETHING WONDERFUL! You will discover and feel something new every time, trust me.

–Nyjah, The Seton Keough High School