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Life Skills class starts gardening project

April showers bring May flowers, and with all the rain locally the last few weeks, it means that spring is here and it’s time for things to start growing. To get into the spring spirit, the life skills class started gardens. It has been a learning experience for both the teachers and the students.

“We planted the seeds in peat cups and put them in a homemade “hot house” to get them to start growing,” teacher Katie Villarreal said. “I have always wanted a garden, but I’m terrible with plants of any kind. I’m pretty excited about the project for myself as well as the students because I’m learning right along with them.”

The class wanted a long-term project they could do outside in the nice weather, so a small garden seemed like the perfect thing. Villarreal says that because the students love to eat, they had each student choose to plant something they they would want to eat.

“My favorite thing about planting the seeds was being outside,” senior Jordan Steele said. “I like being outside better than inside any day. I wanted to plant jalapenos. I thought about ghost peppers, but nah, those are too hot.”

The students planted cucumbers, lettuce, spinach, and green beans. To ensure that the students get to experience eating from their garden before the school year is over, the life skills teachers made a second trip to Palestine to buy more soil and plants. They bought tomatoes, jalapenos, red and yellow sweet peppers and watermelons.

“My favorite kind of seeds to plant were the cucumber seeds,” junior Benjamin Arriaga said. “I was happy when we planted the seeds, and I liked digging in the dirt. I found out that I really like to do gardening in Mrs. Hall’s and Mrs. V’s class. I didn’t know how much fun it was until now.”

The plants still have some growing left to do, but the class is keeping them well-watered, and they go out and check on them every few days.

“We still have the seeds in the hot house until they get a little bit bigger,” Villereal said. “When they get bigger we will transfer them to the large sturdy cattle feed containers that Mrs. Helmcamp brought us. She gardens in them at home with a lot of success and it’s easier then tilling up the soil.”

The students are excited to see the results.  

“It’s fun to go outside and do that kind of work,” Steele said. “I think it’s going to be pretty cool when the plants start really growing. There’s nothing like working hard on something and getting a rewarding result.”

Planting seeds has been a memorable experience for the teachers and students alike. They did not only learn a new skill, but they had a great time while doing it.

“My favorite part was seeing seeing the kids working well together and having a good time doing it,” Villereal said. “We all went outside and laughed, played around, and teased each other, but at the same time, we did something productive and meaningful. It made my heart happy.”