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Enterprise Journal

Mindful Teen program spurred by enhanced courtyard at OHS

May 25, 2021 09:23AM ● By Kara Trettin
Fifth through twelfth-grade students at Osage Community School can now enjoy their lunch period outdoors with a few added fun activities. 
Luke Scharper, OCHS Junior, spearheaded the enhanced courtyard experience through the LEAD program. 
Scharper said the idea sprung to life during a mindful teen program offered through a partnership between Iowa State Extension and the school. He said the program focused on the wellbeing of teenagers and their mental health and offered ways to relieve the stresses of student life.  
“Then we saw the courtyard and there are tables here and it’s getting a little nicer, but there is nothing to do besides eat and sit out here,” Scharper said, pointing around the courtyard. 
The courtyard tables occupy approximately one-fourth of the space, so, Scharper said he thought there was enough room to add games to the lunch experience. 
According to Scharper, he approached the Booster Club and the Lion’s Club, and both were willing to support the idea. 
“We went to them [the Booster Club] because they support the whole school, and this would help basically all students even students who aren’t in sports.” 
Scharper said he then approached Ross Grafft to see if there was a way to lessen the cost of the games he had chosen. He said Grafft made one set of the two sets of cornhole boards for the project.  
“With the money that was fundraised [from the Booster Club and the Lion’s Club] we bought the chess set and the giant connect four,” Scharper said. 
Additional plans for the enhanced courtyard include more cornhole boards and eventually, Scharper hopes to have a storage box to protect the game pieces during inclement weather.   
According to Scharper the courtyard is bustling with activity during lunch periods. He added, “Towards the end of the day, there’s a lot of teachers who let their kids leave the class [to play in the courtyard] if they have their work done.” 
Scharper said he has worked with the Osage Parks and Recreation with the pickle ball court and tree identification signs on the walking trail for other LEAD