by Val Keefer, sophomore, Central Bucks High School West
There is no doubt that Central Bucks High School West is beautiful on the outside, especially during this time of year. However, thanks to our students in Life Skills, we can now admire this natural beauty inside the building as well.
Last spring, the students of CB West’s Life Skills class set up a small garden in the courtyard where they planted zinnia flowers and a variety of vegetables. Many activities in the Life Skills program represent and simulate real life job opportunities, including the gardening they did in May.
Mr. Mike Castelli, one of the Life Skills teachers says, “If you want to learn about something, you learn from doing.”
Students were able to plant the seeds, maintain the garden by watering and picking, and use their fresh vegetables to prepare salads for lunch.
Senior Gary said his favorite part was “eating the tomato sauce from the tomatoes we picked!”
In addition to being a learning experience, the gardens also brightened up an already beautiful school. Each zinnia flower was picked and distributed to any teacher in the building who brought in a vase. In return, the class received many donations.
“I liked giving the flowers to the teachers,” Junior Lauren said.
Mr. Castelli and the students plan on using this money for funding to continue and enlarge the garden this spring.
Many people may have noticed the gardens and bouquets throughout the building. Teachers proudly display their vases of fresh flowers on their desks.
The students in the Life Skills program used intensive, raised-bed gardening techniques, where soil is contained in wooden boxes to a height of 6 inches or more above the ground. The raised beds allow the flowers and vegetables to grow more tightly spaced and help keep weeds out.
The garden boxes containing the beds at West were made by Mr. Donohue’s Materials Processing class last year and given to the Life Skills class.
Most boxes are located on the ground, but one box was built higher above ground on legs so it could be maintained by the students in wheelchairs.
Mr. Castelli spoke very proudly about the project, saying of his students, “They really, really enjoyed it.”
So, thanks to our students in Life Skills, West is more beautiful and more colorful than ever.
PHOTO CAP: Members of the CB West Life Skills class with their courtyard garden. Photo by Brooke Durkin.