A new bench and shrubbery are among the recent amenities to spruce up Palmerton Area School District's courtyard.

Much of that credit can be given to Katie Pielmeier, a member of the Palmerton Area High School graduation Class of 2013.

Pielmeier said she received permission from high school instructor David Kellerman to work on the junior high/senior high courtyard.

As part of the project, Pielmeier said she received help with the cleanup of the area from high school instructors Mike Gombert, Tom Smelas, and Marsha Beers.

From a financial perspective, Pielmeier said she enlisted the help of the PAHS Class of 1952, of which her deceased grandfather, Peter Turko Sr., was a member. Much to her delight, Pielmeier said the Class donated $550 for the purchase of the bench.

"My grandfather was the class president [of 1952], and when the class of 1952 found out I was working in the courtyard, they wanted to honor my grandfather and donated that money," Pielmeier said. "I decided on purchasing something [the bench] that would hopefully be used."

To help further beautify the courtyard, Pielmeier said she and Kellerman went to the Lehigh Gap Nature Center to pick out native plants, which have since been planted in the courtyard.

"I'm glad I did it," she said. "I'd just like to thank everyone; Mr. Kellerman, all the teachers, and the Class of 1952."

Pielmeier, who graduated last week, had several words of advice for PAHS underclassmen.

"Speak up, and get involved," she said. "The rewards are great."

Pielmeier noted that other classes who would like to place a bench in the courtyard, or do related work there, may contact her through the high school.

The daughter of Karl and Susan Pielmeier, Katie plans to attend Ursinus College in the fall, where she will major in Biology and be a member of the swim team.