Minuteman students on November broadcast of 'This Old House'

To be shown restoring gardens at the historic Buttrick mansion in Concord

Students in horticulture and plant science at Minuteman High School will be featured in November on the nationally televised, Emmy award-winning PBS series, "This Old House."Minuteman High School logo

The students, along with their teachers Sarah Ard and Peter Kelleher, will be shown restoring the gardens at the Buttrick mansion in Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord. One of the students is Charles Lovett of Arlington. 

The program was scheduled to air Nov. 16.

This will be the second time in slightly more than a month that Minuteman has been showcased on a PBS program. On Oct. 12, Minuteman was one of three vocational technical high schools in Massachusetts spotlighted on a PBS documentary titled "Job Centered Learning," which examined the benefits of career and technical education.

"This Old House" linked up with Minuteman several years ago to give students valuable on-site training. For the program's 25th anniversary in 2004, four Minuteman students were chosen to be paid apprentices working with the team of experts who regularly appear on "This Old House" to build a home in Carlisle.

Minuteman Superintendent Dr. Edward A. Bouquillon expressed his satisfaction at having the school's students showcased again on the TV program. "I'm really pleased to be working with 'This Old House' again," he said in an Oct. 21 news release, "supporting high-quality career and technical education as a means to individual economic opportunity for many young people."

On a Thursday morning in late spring, Minuteman students Jeffrey Connell, Nicholas DuLong, Lola Clemente, Gannon Zdanavage, Sam Scannell, Andrew Abbott and Charles Lovett, accompanied by Ard and Kelleher, headed to the Buttrick mansion. No longer a private residence, it is now the North Bridge Visitor Center in Minute Man National Historical Park. Its connections date back generations to Colonial times.

The mansion was built in 1911 by Stedman Buttrick Sr., a descendant of Major John Buttrick, who was in charge of the Concord Minutemen on April 19, 1775, when the British arrived to seize the patriots' munitions. At the Old North Bridge, Buttrick's men were fired upon, and he gave the famous order, "Fire men, for God's sake, fire!" This would later be called, in Ralph Waldo Emerson's "Concord Hymn" (1837), the "shot heard 'round the world."

The area where the Minuteman students were working is called the Terrace Garden. Restoring the beauty of that garden was the Minuteman students' focus. They cleaned out undergrowth, removed all invasives, divided and replanted daylilies, labeled plants for future maintenance, did erosion control and pruned larger plants.

Being filmed by "This Old House" was "very easy and low stress for us," Ard said in the release.

Minuteman students in horticulture and plant science at are accustomed to successfully meeting challenges of all kinds, she added. "The students are used to working on robust, large-scale projects with strict deadlines, including the Boston Flower and Garden Show and various projects in our district towns."

Many of the students said they felt honored to work at such a historic site. Lola Clemente, a senior from Medford, said, "I enjoyed being able to work at a National Park and restore a historical garden. It's really cool that 'This Old House' recognized our work and supports our commitment to going into the field of horticulture."

Minuteman is an award-winning regional high school that integrates robust academic and career & technical learning to deliver a revolutionary competitive advantage. The school serves a diverse student body with multiple learning styles, expanding opportunities for college and career success. 

This news announcement was published Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017.