Alan Sanchez Gusman, 5, took a blue plastic garden shovel and began digging into the soil in one of the new planter boxes behind Glenwood Avenue Elementary School's Early Childhood Annex in North Wildwood.
From the looks of it, the four wooden planters were filled with nothing more than dirt. But Alan and his prekindergarten classmates knew that wasn't true. Buried under the soil were tulips bulbs, which with time and care will grow into beautiful, colorful flowers. The prekindergarteners, with help from their teachers, recently learned about tulips.
"First, you put the seed in the dirt. Then, you put the water, and then you wait a lot," Alan said. "Then, it grows."
Personally, he hopes for a bunch of pink and green tulips, but he'll have to wait and see what he gets.
Glenwood Avenue Elementary School's prekindergarten teacher Angela Bostard applied for a Lunch with Lynch mini-grant to fund the school's community garden in the beginning of the school year. Once approved for the grant, Bostard hired Wildwood High School's industrial technology class, taught by Michael Crane, to build the four wooden planters.
On Dec. 7, the high school students involved in the project visited the Early Childhood Annex to deliver the planters to the children. The high school students also filled the planters with soil, so they would be ready for the children to plant.
The high school students stood back and watched as the prekindergartners surrounded the wooden boxes and began to dig into the dirt.
"This is the big ah-ha moment, to see how their work is being used to do something good for the community," Crane said.
Building the wooden planters was the first big hands-on community project for Crane's students this school year. They have been working on the planter boxes since September, starting with the idea, performing a cost analysis that takes into account the size and space available and the load and stress on the wooden planters, creating a prototype and, finally, the construction.
Bostard acted as the high school students' client. She gave the class specifications to meet and funded the work using the Lunch with Lynch money. She said she was happy with the finished product.
"From a client's point of view, they really did a nice job on the design, " she said.
Wildwood High School senior Michael Lalla, who worked on the project, said he was happy with the final product.
"It came out even nicer than I thought it would," he said.
Junior Kennette Jinenez, an advanced independent study student enrolled in Crane's class, was responsible for designing the prototype for the planters using AutoCAD, a software design tool. He said he enjoyed watching the little kids work.
"It's nice to see we can help make learning fun for them," Jinenez said.
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