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GARDENERS GARNER ACCLAIM

South Boston News
Meadville second graders and their teacher, Kimberly Waller, show off their garden project. in May to members of the school board, school administration and Halifax Education Association.
SoVaNow.com / March 31, 2014
Recycled hubcaps, old tires, rocks, plants and seeds — along with plenty of creativity and sweat by students and staff at Meadville Elementary School — are bringing acclaim to the little school that could.

Last week, Meadville Elementary was one of 62 schools named by the Virginia School Board Association for inclusion in its annual “Showcases for Success” directory, which highlights successful K-12 programs in public schools around the state.

The Meadville initiative started with a mini-grant written by second grade teacher Kimberly Waller and funded by the Halifax Education Association. After receiving the grant, Waller got to work planning and designing her inspirational project.

She called on members of the Farm Bureau and Halifax Ag Agent Leah Brown for help, asking them to come to Meadville and test the soil in the courtyard next to the school building. Next, she turned to her father, asking him to build a portable greenhouse which is now located in the garden.

Then it was time for the students to get to work — and get to work they did, pulling weeds, preparing the soil, planting the seeds and watering.

Waller then read aloud to her second graders Linda Kranz’s book “Only One You,” which explains the beauty in diversity. Her students chose a rock to paint to represent their personalities.

Old tires were painted and turned into decorative planters by the students. Auto hubcaps, discarded as scrap iron, were painted with lovely flowers.

All the while, students learned about the life cycle of fruits and vegetables as they worked on the project. They were able to explain all the steps they had taken while displaying their work to School Board members and Central Office staff at the ribbon cutting ceremony held at the school last May.

Meadville students harvested potatoes they had grown in August when they returned to school.

Now those students know that hard work pays off — in the form of statewide recognition.

Gina Patterson, Executive Director of the Virginia School Board Association, wrote, “In addition to highlighting some of the best practices taking place in Virginia’s schools, the Showcases for Success directory can serve as a starting point to develop similar programs in other schools divisions.”

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