When Stamford High School (SHS) opened its doors as a one-room school in 1874, there was no way of knowing that one day it would house over 100 classrooms and nearly 2,000 students. As the campus expanded and new buildings were added, internal courtyards formed yet were not given much attention. These untapped spaces held the promise of an outdoor respite for students and teachers, but over time, they became overgrown and abandoned.

To the rescue
On Thursday, July 11, approximately 60 volunteers from AXA Investment Mangers (AXA IM), headquartered in Greenwich, CT, shed their business attire in exchange for workpants and gardening gloves as part of AXA’s Global CR Week 2019.  They joined their local charity partner, the Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF), at Stamford High School, along with supporters  from the school’s Governance Council and a representative from Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens, to completely transform  two, un-used  courtyards as well as and the front entrance of the school. SPEF organized this school clean-up in conjunction with its mission of bridging the gap between Stamford Public Schools and the business community.

At this 2019 AXA Hearts in Action event, volunteers worked together to help revitalize the school’s courtyards and grounds through a variety of landscaping tasks (including mulching, weeding, constructing planters, planting flowers, painting). With the support of the hardworking and committed AXA IM volunteers, students will be able to enjoy an outdoor oasis for studying, taking classes, and networking when arriving back at school this Fall.

“We at Stamford High School are very grateful for the assistance SPEF and AXA IM provided with the SHS courtyards and entranceway.  Their kindness, dedication and generosity are everything we strive to teach and engender in the students of SHS. Although the project was just completed, the response from SHS students and teachers via social media has already been phenomenal and the students and faculty  are very excited to utilize  the space,” said Raymond Manka, Stamford High School Principal.

“As part of AXA IM’s Global Corporate Responsibility Week, our Greenwich-based staff looked forward to getting out of the office and into the community to support local students by  championing a series of landscaping, painting and overall restoration of Stamford High Schools’ courtyards. The transformation was eye-opening, and our employees were pleased to be able to come together to create an outdoor space that is engaging for both students and faculty,” said Sangita Blomberg, Head of Marketing and Communications – Americas, AXA Investment Managers.