Michelle Fahle was a freshman at Naperville North High School when she passed away in 2009 from complications with the H1N1 virus and an undiagnosed heart condition.
Students, staff, and members of the community gathered at the school on Sunday to dedicate the new prairie grass garden to Fahle.
Her father, Michael Fahle, who’s both a 1977 graduate of Naperville North and an avid prairie gardener, decided to create this garden as a way to teach students about native plants while keeping Michelle’s memory alive.
“I never thought I’d be back doing something like this for a member of my family. Never in my wildest dreams did I think about it,” said Michael Fahle.
At the dedication ceremony, Michelle’s friends gave a few heart-felt words of reflection.
“Just as god created the intricacy and delicacy of a prairie, he also did so with the beautiful soul that Michelle Fahle had,” said Alexa Hansen, a senior at NNHS. “The life of this prairie is everlasting, just as Michelle’s spirit will live on forever with us.”
Principal Kevin Pobst spent many hours helping Michael and Lori Fahle cultivate the garden over the past few years. He hopes it will introduce students to flowers, grass, and trees that are native to Illinois. But above all else, there’s one message Pobst wants everyone who passes by the prairie garden to remember.
“We’re all connected to each other. We’re connected to nature and those connections don’t go away with death and they don’t go away with graduation,” said Pobst. “Our connectedness lasts forever.”
The garden is not completely done but the Fahle family hopes to have most of it finished by the time Michelle’s peers cross the stage for graduation in the spring.
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