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Nine sixth-graders at Leo Croce Elementary in Livermore, members of Girl Scout Troop 30521, have earned their Bronze Award by finishing a “Kindness Rock Garden” at the school in memory of former Livermore school superintendent Leo Croce.

The girls -- Allie Halfon, Hailee Murray, Carolyn Siemens, Elizabeth Siemens, Finley Syth, Adriana Mosby, Sarah Theberge, Taya Trinta, and Kaitlyn Zoerhoff – began planning the project last year and were about to start actual work on the garden when the state issued a stay-at-home order because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

When the state eased the restrictions, the girls worked in shifts, following Alameda County COVID-19 health guidelines, to complete the low-maintenance garden. After working with the Livermore Joint United School District to determine where to place the garden, they involved other students and their families in painting the rocks, solicited donations from local companies for supplies, and physically built the garden.

“The hope is that the garden will help spread kindness and be a beautiful sight for those who come on campus,” said Kirsten Zoerhoff, a Girl Scout leader whose daughter was one of the students.

“Mr. Croce was a big part of Leo Croce Elementary and he would often come to campus to participate in and watch many of the school’s activities.,” Zoerhoff said. “The Livermore school district adopted the “Choose Love at School” program and a Kindness Rock Garden seemed like a good fit.”

The Bronze Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can earn.

The nine students at Leo Croce Elementary were Girl Scout Juniors when they began the project and became Girl Scout Cadettes when they began sixth grade. But because of the pandemic, the Girl Scouts extended the time for last year’s Juniors to complete their Bronze Award projects until October 2021.