Students Create a Home Garden for a Local Resident Who Is Fighting Cancer

Corinne Sikora with her husband, Matt, and their two sons.

May 15, 2018

The Central Bucks community was eager to help when residents found out that a local educator who many know and love was facing a cancer diagnosis. In January, Corinne Sikora, a Central Bucks School District (CBSD) supervisor and former teacher, was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer. 

CBSD teachers, along with students from Central Bucks West High School and Delaware Valley University, worked to create a beautiful home garden for Sikora, her husband, Matt, and their two young sons to enjoy.

“She has just been a part of the Central Bucks community for so long, and so many people wanted to help,” said Alyssa Walloff, a friend, and colleague. 

Sikora taught in CBSD for nearly 20 years before becoming a supervisor. She was also a staff developer and got to know many teachers through that role. 

Walloff, who is the supervisor of K-12 language arts for CBSD and a DelVal faculty member, reached out to the University to ask for help creating a home garden for Sikora. Dr. Chris Tipping, interim dean of agriculture and environmental sciences, along with a small group of DelVal students helped to bring the garden idea to life. 

DelVal students visited Sikora’s home on Tuesday, May 8, to assess the site and plan and returned on Monday, May 14, to install the garden. The students from DelVal who worked on the garden were Nora Palmer ’19, Rebecca Burton ’18, Brittany Hajduga ’18, Katie Kusant ’21, Amanda Meacham ’21, Dan Perry ’18, Brandon DeBoer '18 and Nick Devan '18. Dr. Tipping, Interim Greenhouse Manager Carlos Soto-Gil, and Horticulture Production Manager Matthew Beekman worked with the students on the garden project.  

The group of students and staff with Corinne in the new garden

Credit: Delaware Valley University. From Left: Interim Dean of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Dr. Chris Tipping, Katie Kusant ’21, Brandon DeBoer '18, Corinne Sikora, Amanda Meacham ’21, Nick Devan '18, Horticulture Production Manager Matthew Beekman, Greenhouse Manager Carlos Soto-Gil, and Dan Perry ’18.

“What these students are doing really embodies the spirit of what DelVal is all about,” said Dr. Tipping. 

The CBSD English department raised funds to add furniture and lighting to the garden, and DelVal provided the materials and plants.

Two Central Bucks West students, Dan Snavely and Clark Bitner, and C.B. West Technology and Engineering Teacher Jonathan Taylor created two flower beds for the garden that the DelVal students installed. 

“Mr. Taylor, the (C.B. West) teacher, knows Corinne,” said Walloff. “When we asked for help, he said, ‘Anything for Corinne.’ That stuck with me because a lot of people feel that way. She’s an incredible person, and there has been an outpouring of support.”

Flower boxes for the garden

Courtesy: Alyssa Walloff. C.B. West teacher Jonathan Taylor 
with his two daughters and the new flower beds. 

Sikora said she has seen “so much love and support from the community.”

“People have been sharing their talents with our family to make our fight a little bit easier,” said Sikora. 

The garden includes raised beds of vegetables. Sikora, who loves to cook, is looking forward to having fresh produce from the garden. She’s also looking forward to being able to spend time surrounded by beautiful plants. 

“I think it will be healing for me to be able to take care of the plants throughout my chemo treatment,” said Sikora. “Walking out of the hospital and being able to come into my garden will be healing in itself.”

The garden is just one of the community efforts to support the Sikora family. 

On May 19, Villa Capri in Doylestown will host a “Concert for Corinne” from 3 to 11 p.m., which will feature six local bands. Proceeds from optional refreshment wristbands will go to the family.  

How to Help:

Attend “Concert for Corinne” on Saturday, May 19 at Villa Capri in Doylestown. The event will be held from 3 to 11 p.m. and will feature six local bands. Optional refreshment wristbands will be available for $40. Proceeds from the wristbands will go to help the Sikora family.  There is no cost for admission for those who just want to attend to support the family and enjoy the bands.