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Best of the Week 2020-2021: Teaching to the Future


Back in Spring 2020, the Environmental Club at St. Ed's wanted to plant a "salsa garden," but when five IB students (Johannes Afful '21, Evan Colburn '21, Colin Myslenski '21, Sebastian Vanegas '21, and Tim Welch '21) learned of the idea, they wanted to not only help with the project but think outside the box to make this their CAS project. Although the pandemic brought an abrupt halt to in-person classes last spring, the project continued moving forward as the five IB students continued meeting with faculty via Google Meet to develop ideas for the garden's creation. As soon as in-person classes began in September, students hit the ground running and worked with Engineering & Technology Department Chair JC Froelich '08, Design Tech students and Language Acquisition Department Chair Lisa Hardin to bring the garden to life.

Taking shifts every week for the past few months, students have worked with Mrs. Hardin and Mr. Froelich to get the garden up and running, following the design plans made by Custodial Services & Event Setup Supervisor Nathan Hardin. "The students have worked so hard. They've done every step from digging post holes, building frames and attaching boxes, to spreading gravel, soil and mulch and building fences and doors," says Mrs. Hardin. "The Design Tech students came in with construction knowledge and how to execute blueprint designs. This collaborative experience really helped students learn new tasks and skills like never before."

As students finish up the building process of the new garden, located on the north side of campus between the Joseph and Helen Lowe Institute for Innovation and the Br. James Everett, C.S.C. Stadium, the IB senior students will turn their attention to recruiting gardeners to take care of the garden for the upcoming year and will begin the planting process this spring. Click here to hear from Jack O'Brien '21, one of our IB Diploma candidates, as he shares how this garden project has empowered him to solve real-world problems.

"This is a garden with hope to bring," says Mrs. Hardin. "We have not finalized plans for next year's harvest, but we are exploring ideas for how to contribute what we grow in the garden to the Community Meal and our Food Pantry. We also want to sell the garden's produce at local farmer's markets or to grow ingredients to make homemade salsa which we can sell as well. We also hope the garden will serve the St. Ed's community by being a place for any teacher to create hands-on learning experiences for their students to complement and enhance their curriculum. The garden supports our educational mission of providing project-based learning experiences that teach collaboration and creative thinking skills, while also providing healthy food to those in need and teaching the student gardeners how to care for God's creation."

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