DRW Students Volunteer at Rooting of the Oaks

The Noble Network of Charter Schools value involvement in the communities and neighborhoods where their schools are established. Every student has community service hour requirements they must have completed in order to graduate, and DRW College Prep is no exception. On Saturday, September 23, DRW students participated in the Rooting of the 1000 Oaks Project held on the Homan Square campus located in North Lawndale. Coordinated by the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, members of the North Lawndale community kicked off the project by planting 10 oak trees, using shovels created from melted-down, recycled weapon waste.

The shovels, the craftsmanship of artist Pedro Reyes, were made on site that day. This is Reyes’ second installment of his series Palas por Pistolas (Shovels from Pistols). DRW freshman, Rayonne Jackson volunteered his time to assist in the creation process.  “We are having members of the community write down their hopes, sorrows, dreams, and stories of how they’ve been affected by gun violence. Those pieces of paper are being put into the metal parts of guns, melted down and turned into shovels that will be used to plant these oak trees,” Jackson explained.

The metals symbolically came from confiscated guns gathered from police stations around the city of Chicago. Jackson went on, “I think the point is to take negative energy and turn it into positive energy we can use to uplift our community.”

“DRW encourages me to participate in the community with the community service hours we have to complete. I learned about this event from my advisory teacher, so that’s why I’m here,” shared DRW junior, Tucoria Stevens.

DRW freshman Taquana Davenport said, “It feels good to volunteer in my neighborhood, knowing it’s going to make a positive impact in my community.” Davenport also takes part in other activities outside of school that will help prepare her for college. She said she believes in the importance of knowing what it feels like to help others in your neighborhood.

At the event, Reyes, the shovel artist, added, “The School of Art Institute is putting into practice an extremely radical exercise of collective imagination and education. I want to thank everyone for this invitation and I’m proud to be a part of this.”

This event exemplifies the kind of involvement DRW Prep and other Noble schools have in mind as they encourage students to get involved in their local communities.


-Cecilia Alcarez, Dean of Students
DRW College Prep