Student Life

The Dr. Dallas Dillon Memorial Shakepeare Garden

One of the most amazing aspects of Central Catholic’s campus are the many opportunities for rest and reflection outside of the classroom walls. All around campus you will find these little grottos and also a beautiful garden just urging you to take a moment on lovely sunny days to say hi to friends, get a bite to eat, pause to pray, or just get centered before heading back to class.

Shakespeare gardens can be found throughout the world. They are loving and living tributes to one of the greatest playwrights and poets of all time. The gardens will feature a bust or likeness of Shakespeare and most will have a sundial and water feature. Of course, many of the plants mentioned in his plays and sonnets are found in these gardens, however, they may also include the flora of the Elizabethan Age.
It has been said that Shakespeare was an avid gardener with a particular affinity for roses, which he mentions in his works over 50 times. The Dr. Dallas E. Dillon Memorial Shakespeare Garden located at Central Catholic High School in Modesto features several roses mentioned in his works and in the winter of 2023 one was planted to honor the Bard himself: the William Shakespeare 2000 Rose.

Info provided by:
The Dr. Dallas E. Dillon Memorial Shakespeare Garden website
A favorite spot on campus is Shakespeare Garden. It was grown and dedicated to Dr. Dallas E. Dillon, Mrs. Dillon’s husband.

Born in Baldwin City, Kansas, to Elvin and LaVergne Dillon, Dallas enjoyed a healthy lifestyle fixing fence, putting up hay, and playing sports year-round. He was an exceptional athlete and an outstanding student. He matriculated at Baker College, graduating in three and a half years, then moved to New York City where he attended St. John’s University and earned his MA in English. After graduation he worked for several years as an English instructor at LaGuardia Community College and Monroe College as well as a French tutor at the Berlitz School.
Dallas moved to California in the 80’s to accept a teaching position in the Humanities Department at Merced College, where he worked for over 25 years. He not only taught his students the importance of critical thinking as seen through all texts, he demonstrated a love for learning. As a lover of the written word, and of course Shakespeare, the idea was bounced around and then put into motion to create a unique space full of growth and life for all to enjoy here on campus.

Info provided by:
The Dr. Dallas E. Dillon Memorial Shakespeare Garden website
Our campus garden features signage with QR codes to help with plant identification, designed by Patrick O’Connor ‘23. If a plant is mentioned in one of Shakespeare’s works, a corresponding quotation is shared as well as plant identification information. There will also be an opportunity to listen to recitations relating to the plants in the near future. 
Over the summer, the Modesto-based artist Karen Kingsbury was commissioned to help decorate part of the sundial that sits in the center of Shakespeare Garden. Ms. Kingsbury is a very talented mosaic and mixed-media artist. Her art is bright, vibrant, and colorful which works very well in our garden, enhancing the colors that thrive in this special area of our school.
WE welcome you to come experience the peacefulness and relax in Shakespeare Garden. Take a moment to sit upon the wooden benches to breathe, read a book, make new friends, or just enjoy the ambiance that our outdoor spaces have to offer. WE also welcome you to use this beautiful space to take photographs of your event to remember those memories for a lifetime.

This garden will continue to be developed. There will be new plants added, a water feature, and a mosaic to adorn the sundial stand. WE also plan to add a little library featuring Shakespeare’s works. Please visit often.

Info provided by:
The Dr. Dallas E. Dillon Memorial Shakespeare Garden website

About Central Catholic

Faithful to our Catholic Tradition, our mission is to witness to the Gospel while building an educational community that inspires the spiritual, academic and social development of young adults.

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