For years the Agriculture team at Nimitz High School has been trying to establish a community garden at the school, and thanks to a grant from the Citi Foundation, the dream has been realized. The garden’s ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking ceremony was held on May 25 as students and volunteers from the community participated in setting up the garden.
“I am extremely excited to get this project off the ground,” Principles of Agriculture teacher Kassie Davidson said. “This community garden has been an on-going process for several years, and it is exciting to finally see it being established.
“This garden will be a fantastic opportunity to bind our community and families together with soft-strong bonds of sharing and commitment. I cannot wait to see what this garden will bring to our students, the school district, and the overall community.”
The community garden is part of Nimitz High School’s two signature programs: Agriculture and The Center for Energy and Environmental Entrepreneurship. The garden will be cared for by students as well as members of the surrounding community. For the 600 or more students in the Agriculture program, the garden is intended to provide a hands-on learning environment. In addition to the curriculum, students are expected to learn the team-work, critical thinking, and decision making skills necessary to maintain the garden.
The food grown in the garden will be employed in various ways. Some of the crop will be used in a student-run entrepreneurial venture where students sell harvested goods; some of the crop will also be used by the school’s Culinary Department. The rest of the food will be donated to the Irving Cares Foundation and La Buena Vita House.
Students in the program have expressed a lot of excitement for this project.
“This was something we dreamed of having while we were still freshmen,” student Noah Castro said. “Now that we have the backing for the project, it’s finally happening, and it’s amazing. It’s definitely a different sort of education than a lot of students are used to. A lot of people learn better with a hands-on approach. I really hope that incoming freshmen will see the garden and realize how lucky they are to go to a school that gives them a different kind of education than they’re used to.”
The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by students, teachers, and Citi volunteers, as well as Superintendent Dr. Jose Parra, members of the business community and the Irving Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Citi Irving Campuses Site president Rodney Phelps spoke to attendees regarding Citi’s partnership with Nimitz High School to “create a closer community” before presenting Superintendent Parra and Nimitz’ Principal Curtis Mauricio with a novelty check.
“A project like this really brings a lot of people together,” Phelps said. “It fosters a sense of community and identity. This garden represents progress and growth for the neighborhood.”
Afterwards, Principal Mauricio performed the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and the teachers and administrators performed the initial groundbreaking before the students and volunteers began setting fences and planting crops.
“We’re glad our students get to have this experience,” Parra said. “Not a lot of students in the city get the opportunity to work with the earth. We hope this different way of teaching will be good for our students and the community around them.”