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JACKSBORO—Summer school students at Jacksboro Middle School planted the “Don Nance Campbell County Community Garden”—which was revealed to the community Friday.
“It’s so good to see young people, and to see you out here and willing to be a part,” said Phyllis Clingner, who gave the program overview.
Different vegetables—such as celery, beets, squash and tomatoes—are growing in the garden, which will be used to feed people in the community.
“I know what it’s like to be in trouble financially and worry about not having food on the table,” student Carrie Ferrah said. “And I like to know I’m (a part of) helping somebody else.”
The community garden is meant to bring people together so they can reap the benefits of what is grown, said Clingner.
By helping others, students may also be helping themselves. JMS teacher Judy Parker believes people will have to grow their own fresh vegetables in the future, and students involved in the project have learned skills that may be necessary to future survival.
Summer school students designed the community garden as part of a class project called “outdoor garden”—a science technology engineering and math initiative. The STEM initiative is part of the new common core standards that integrate each concept taught in school.
“It’s really a whole new way of thinking about learning,” Parker said.
Friday, Parker honored students Leanne Hatfield and James Ward, who led teams of students in completing the project.
“They have been real role models out here,” she said.
Ward’s team built a gravel walkway and Hatfield’s built elevated beds in which the vegetables are planted.
“Sometimes students have difficulty in the classroom, but if you give them hands on activities, they will learn,” Parker said.
County Mayor William Baird commended the students for working together, and expressed hope the rest of the community would learn from their example.
“You get to experience something besides sitting in a classroom and looking at books,” Baird said. “You get to actually see it happening here in the garden.”
The community garden will continue beyond summer school—science club members and other students have expressed interest in working with the garden.
“We’re actually the pilot program,” Parker said.
Clingner described the garden at JMS as “phase one.”
Community gardens will be planted at other schools in the district.
Each group of students involved in the gardens will be paired with an adult in the community who wants to participate.
While vegetables will be given to people who need food, some will likely be sold to sustain the gardens.