Garden Helps Growth of School Community


Chiara Douglas

Above is the garden that was created by and maintained by students and staff.

Madelyn Drohan, Reporter

On Thursday, June 20, West Springfield High School adopted a student run garden. The garden is located on the backside of the school, encased in a light wooden foundation. From planning in May to operating in June, students and teachers throughout the community have donated their time and efforts to progress the experience. 

According to Mrs. Pasterczyk, the project was made possible by a grant from the Ascentria Care Alliance that allowed the production of this program. Their main goal is to “navigate successfully through life’s challenges and beyond.” Located in various areas throughout New England, this empowering union notified Dr. Perrone, who then informed Mrs. Pasterczyk. 

During the construction of the garden, Mr. Marcus, a special education teacher who works with the Essential Life Skills Program,  stated, “we were joined by the Mayor, school committee members, students from Key Club, Conservation Club and several children and spouses of teacher volunteers.” Students from the Conservation Club help with weeding, harvesting, and using the vegetables, along with individuals from Developmental Learning, Essential Life Skills, and the Terrier Cafe Food-Lab program. This program is run by Mrs. Pasterczyk, paraprofessionals, and the life skills students who prepare and cook meals for purchase. “It’s great to see the kids so involved and get excited about the whole experience of seat to table,” Mrs. Pasterczyk declared. Students learn the process of buying, preparing, cooking and serving food.

“So far students harvested tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, zucchini, eggplant and basil to use in the Terrier Cafe,” Mr. Marcus explained. The students also created dishes such as zucchini bread and tomato soup that were served at the WS Showcase, and prepare fresh vegetables to use in the salad bar.

The student run garden is ready for expansion. “We just started a compost,” Mrs. Pasterczyk informed. This compost is attracting more attention to the garden, especially from the science department. In science classes, the students are learning what animals the compost attracts, and they are able to analyze the different species that are grown. “We were talking about possibly getting a greenhouse built for the garden,” Mrs. Pasterczyk mentioned. The head of the Ascentria Care Alliance grant is looking into getting funds for the greenhouse, along with the Mayor.

“Students are proud of the work they do. They see and taste the results of their labor, and learn first-hand how food gets from garden to table,” Mr. Marcus concluded.