I’ve known for quite some time that I needed to write a blog post to capture the summer school program for 6,7,8 and 9th graders in my district. It’s been amazing and the highlight of my service this year. The only problem? A lack of time! Summer may be known for its long, lazy days, but this month has flown by (much to my surprise). Luckily, I got a chance to slow down and spend quality time with students outside, making me savor the season and all its glories.
While I may get sick of weeding, watering, and harvesting, the 40 students in the summer school program didn’t tire of anything. Over the course of four weeks, students eagerly rushed out to our garden, excited to see what had grown. We painted our raised beds with designs drawn by students. We turned pallets into bright signs for our garden. We put a walkway in the courtyard. Students were confusingly pleased to shovel rocks into wheelbarrows and dump them into the pathway.
Despite the effort, I didn’t do it all alone. Thanks to our ag teacher Jessica O’Connor, we planted potatoes, ran soil tests, and learned a bit about identifying weeds. We pruned tomatoes (hint: students love cutting off their “armpit hairs”). On rainy days, we turned into artists, crafting sundials out of clay.
The month was a ton of planning for me, yet immensely rewarding. Students seemed pleased to garden and see their creations come to life. To celebrate our successful season, we popped popcorn and made kale chips out of our ample harvest. My favorite part of the cooking madness? Students asking for seconds on kale chips, then asking to take fresh kale home. And asking for the recipe so they could make the snack with their families. I will forever remember their wonderful smiling faces, carrying home bags of fresh kale to cook themselves. It has been a wonderful summer so far.