Students moving up from elementary school to middle school in Katonah-Lewisboro are used to an exciting transition: from having a locker for the first time to making new friends from all over the district, there are always plenty of new experiences.
This year, there’s a new surprise at John Jay Middle School—but one that will be familiar to most incoming sixth graders.
“When LES closed, many, many of the children really wanted to see the gardens go somewhere,” explained Denise Lupia, a Wellness and Sustainability consultant for the district and retired K-L teacher.
Through a truly collaborative effort—involving administrators, the John Jay Middle School PTO, Operations and Maintenance crews and a couple of green-thumbed students—the gardens were completely replanted and set up permanently at JJMS over the summer and now have a variety of healthy flowers and vegetables sprouting beautifully.
Principal Richard Leprine said he and the JJMS staff are looking for creative ways to integrate the gardens into curricula, as well as form an after-school club that will involve caring for the garden.
Sixth grader Ali Fergusson has been involved with the LES garden since its inception and was instrumental in having it moved to the Middle School.
“I enjoy it because I feel like I am really helping the environment and it’s fun to collect the vegetables and keep the plants healthy,” she shared.
Lupia noted that over the years it has become apparent that Ali Fergusson is a natural in the garden.
“She can probably run the garden herself,” said Lupia.
Fergusson and her twin brother Cole and other sixth graders including Arcadia Ohenemus and Joelle Sacks continue to be garden enthusiasts and enjoy everything from pulling weeds to guessing how big the carrots will grow each season.
“It makes me feel good to plant really good food,” said Cole Fergusson.