LEXINGTON, S.C. — What started out as a math class has morphed into a community service project on the grounds of White Knoll Middle School.
Approximately 50 students and staff planted or harvested a school garden, largely spearheaded by Students Yashvi and Sanskruti Patel. Both seventh-graders, the girls are doing their part to end hunger in their hometown.
After Yashvi and Sanskruti completed sixth-grade mathematics early last year, WKMS Mathematics Teacher Jamie Bowen introduced them to Katie’s Krops, a national program that supports youth-led gardens growing food for needy families.
Yashvi and Sanskruti immediately jumped on board with the idea of creating a garden at their school.
“They have such big hearts,” Bowen said.
Yashvi and Sanskruti successfully applied to be Katie’s Krops Growers and also wrote an application for a $500 Home Depot Garden Club grant. After receiving their funding and doing research on which vegetables to plant and when, the girls, with help from a few classmates, got to work.
“It’s a way to bring the school together,” Yashvi said.
Since last fall, the WKMS garden has yielded tomatoes, zucchini, watermelon, squash and eggplant. The school has donated more than 150 pounds of produce to the food pantry at Lexington Interfaith Community Services.
“We’re helping these families so they don’t have to go hungry for at least one day,” Yashvi said.
Recognizing the potential of the WKMS garden, volunteers from Katie’s Krops visited the school this summer. They expanded the garden and added much-needed irrigation.
As they plant seasonal crops like kale and bell peppers, Yashvi and Sanskruti are planning ahead to continue providing for local families through donations to LICS. Recruiting other students, they’ve formed the WKMS Garden Club to sustain the garden even after they graduate from middle school.
“They’re leaving a legacy,” Bowen said.
Bowen believes students who are participating in the club are being positively impacted as they see the results of their hard work spring up out of the ground.
“It’s important to make enrichment opportunities like this meaningful,” she said. “School is not all about academics. You’re shaping students for the future.”