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September 2016
Vegatable Transplants

Students Take a “Hands-On” Approach to Learning – Garden Style

For the past fifteen years, the start of the new school year begins with the tradition of clearing out the summer crop and planting a new crop of vegetables in the various agriculture science classes at Atwater High School. This year was no exception as agriculture students kept the tradition alive and “growing”. “I didn’t realize transplanting crops was so simple!” exclaimed freshman student Melissa Ramos. A few weeks earlier, what was an area of dried corn and weeds, is now a beautiful broccoli garden due to the efforts and teamwork of the students.

The yearly vegetable garden created by students in the Exploration in Agriculture classes is an opportunity for “hands-on” learning and teamwork. “Seeing the evolution of students wondering why they are pulling weeds, to the final phase of planting vegetable transplants and seeing the pride in their faces when they see the results of their hard work is what is the most rewarding aspect of this class project”, says agriculture instructor Shelby West.

Over 1500 transplants of broccoli were donated by California Transplants in Newman where they have continued to support this project at no cost. The students take the 3-5” plants and transplant them into the vegetable garden laboratory located within the newly expanded AHS garden and nursery facility. The students are broken into teams and are responsible for the care and well-being of the plants. The garden will also serve as a science laboratory where various horticulture and plant science experiments and inquiries will take place utilizing the scientific method. By early November, the vegetable plants are ready for harvest where both education and nutrition serve as a primary reward.

“I enjoy the opportunity to learn about things outdoors and get our hands dirty!” stated freshman student Edgar Torress-Medina. Getting students involved and excited about agriculture is the philosophy behind the Atwater High School Agriculture program. “We guarantee our students that if they take advantage of the opportunities and resources agricultural education and FFA provides, they will gain skills and resources that will assist them in being successful towards any educational and career goals they have”, said agriculture instructor Dave Gossman.

Indirectly, the experience is teaching the students teamwork, organization, and the rewards of hard work. Students gain personal pride in seeing the results of their hard work. “Pride extends to personal confidence, and with confidence comes productivity and a drive towards personal, educational, and career success”, said West.


Audrey Esau
Atwater FFA Reporter