The entire school participated in the March 23rd festivities
MHE 4th grade girls let their excitement show
The 1st graders and their royal blue bandanas
Square Foot Gardening with SIPs creator, Edgar Hercila
Nancy and Amelia "Lemon" Shanks
Ms. Rich gets in on the planting fun
The generous birthday girls (L to R) Ava Meierhofer, Hadyn Pokorski & Sydney Aven
The McGowan-Stiggers family were honored with a memorial for Tank
Principal Henderson welcomes the crowd
The Lead Weeds: Moss Haven moms with the brains and the backs to pull it off
Bursting with pride and overwhelming joy, the MHE family saw a dream become a reality with the dedication of the Outdoor Learning Environment (OLE) Farm.
Parents, school officials, and community leaders were on hand to witness the re-birth of farm life in Moss Haven, one that initially began with a horse farm owned by Harry S. Moss.
"This is phenomenal!" said an excited Philip Henderson, the principal of MHE.
"It was a team effort with the American Heart Association (AMA), parents, and the district. The kids are so excited. We will be able to integrate the farm into our regular curriculum."
The AMA partnered with the OLE Farm, as it's one of over 100 teaching gardens across the country.
"We are excited because this is the first school that the national center will have an opportunity to volunteer with,” explained Laura Sol, Vice President of Consumer Initiatives.
Councilman Jerry Allen was on hand to lead the crowd in the pledge of allegiance, pledge to the Texas flag and a moment of silence.
"I'm so happy and proud of RISD for having the vision to allow this to happen."
Each class now has its own starter garden and will have the opportunity to plant vegetables, fruit, herbs, and flowers, providing each student with a hands-on learning experience.
Attendees were able to visit the starter gardens and more than likely noticed the sub-irrigation planters (SIPs) invented by Iraqi war veteran Edgar Hercila who flew in from Los Angeles to celebrate the momentous occasion.
The students got in on the spirit of the day, too, as some dressed in farming attire and waved blue bandanas with excitement.
Three second grade girls – Sydney Aven, Hadyn Pokorski, and Ava Meierhofer – were in a special spotlight. Instead of gifts for their joint birthday party, they requested gift cards to Home Depot in order to purchase items like temperature gauges and flowers for the farm.
"I am so impressed and proud of all three of the girls," said Hadyn's father, David.
The most heart warming moment of the day was when the parents and family of Marcus "Tank" Stiggers were presented with an engraved stone in his memory. Stiggers, a MHE 5th grader, passed away suddenly in the fall due to an asthma attack.
His parents, Marcus Stiggers and Rachel McGowan were touched that the school would honor him in such a way.
McGowan tearfully explained that "thanks to MHE, we will always have somewhere else to go visit other than the graveyard."
Planning committee chair, Tiffany Walker, reminded the students that seeing the OLE Farm come to fruition proves that you can "do anything if you believe, are a good problem solver, and have a great team helping you."
Councilman Allan summed it up best. "It was a special day," he said. "It doesn't get any better than this."
Farm life is definitely back in town!
Our thanks to Debbie Bono, Skye MacLaren and Tiffany Walker for the photos