Tribute to Heroes

Preserving a historic cemetery


Background Information

Shawn Beaman grew up on Long Island, NY (after moving out from New York City at a young age), and he was able to experience the benefits of living in a somewhat rural area. This new environment is what sparked his interest in Alzar School.  He developed a passion for being outside, and what it has to offer.  On his way to school every morning, he passes by the fascinating graveyard just off the road; however, over the years he has noticed that it barely gets taken care of as the gravestones slowly fade away, being covered by the trees and shrubs.  Shawn always wondered why this historical piece of land was not getting the love it needed, so he decided to put a plan into action in attempts to preserve the land. Through his research, he found out that it belonged to the Calvary AME Church located just a few miles from the cemetery. What intrigued Shawn most was that this church was formed by the help of the Quakers in the early 1800’s, as Shawn attends a Quaker School.  However, the Quakers no longer help the Church, as their relationship has dwindled over time. Shawn is driven to rekindle this relationship between the Quakers and the Calvary AME Church because this connection holds a significant meaning in the history of our community.

“We are so grateful to hear about your involvement in this project, and can’t wait to see what we can accomplish as a community” -Reverend Sparkman

Implementation of Project

Before Shawn put this project into action, he formulated a plan making sure he had everything he would need for it to work out. He reached out to his target action team members asking if they would be able to work with him, and if they agreed with his plan. Next, Shawn began to visit the cemetery regularly to check up on what needed to be done, as well as checking in with his action team member, Mr Bitter. He met with Mr. Duggar, the Head of College Admissions at his school, as Shawn knew Mr. Duggar had many connections with those at the church and would offer many positive attributes throughout the process. Shawn held a meeting with the Pastor and Reverend of the Church to propose his project, in hopes to receive permission to begin. While it might have seemed that this was a smooth process for Shawn, he spent hours and hours gathering information, creating a plan for his project, and getting in touch with everyone involved.

“There is a tremendous history behind the individuals buried here and those who are involved with the church, which I am excited to learn about through our intensive research and work” -Mr. Bitter (Action Team Member)

Results of Project

Shawn was able to meet with everyone and gather what he needed to do to put this project into action.  He has established a Board of Directors, and a plan for his next steps in his thorough process. He expects that this will be a lengthy process and he will pass it down to a reliable student to complete as their Independent Study Project, and make sure that it is up to date and in good order. Shawn plans to put this into motion in the coming weeks as he will be able to establish it as a 501c3, and begin to fundraise. His goal is to fundraise at least $10,000 to put towards landscaping, maintenance, and restoration of the cemetery over the years, at the same time gaining recognition for the church and increasing the amount of members.

What’s Next

As Shawn begins his college admissions process, he plans to utilize his experience and learnings which he acquired throughout his time at the Alzar School and his Culminating Leadership Project. As he is still unsure of his future, Shawn is able to use this as an advantage during the college process, and throughout his life as he is passionate about community service and giving back to his community. Shawn will revisit this project frequently, as each year, a new senior from Friends Academy will ascend to the leadership role completing it for their Independent Service Project, and Shawn provide assistance for the student; in addition, he is willing to do whatever needs to be done to keep this an ongoing project which benefits the community.

“I am so grateful to be given this opportunity to take part in the process and restoration of something so meaningful to the church and the community, and I am excited to see what comes of it.” -Shawn Beaman