Turning Over a New Leaf
EMILY VOIGT, GRADE 10
Wrought with weeds, garbage and fallen signs, the Waterdown District High School (WDHS) garden is in need of a thorough cleaning. Luckily, members of the Student Organization for Learning about International Differences club (SOLID) are ready to cultivate their garden back to its former beauty.
The snow has finally melted and today SOLID members begin work to prepare their garden for planting. Remains of last year’s kale, tomatoes, Swiss chard, sunflowers and herbs are removed.
The SOLID garden, created in 2013, is a neighbourhood and charitable space. Local residents are welcome to use anything grown in the garden and add their own favourite herbs, vegetables and flowers. Most of the produce is taken to Hamilton food banks.
The hot afternoon sun bathes the garden, as excited conversations of what is to come fill the air. SOLID members are anticipating the upcoming renovation made possible by a HWDSB capital project in celebration of the school’s 25th anniversary. The SOLID garden and the WDHS Museum of History will split $24,000 between the renovation and expansion of SOLID’s garden and the Museum of History.
“We are very excited that the school is putting so much money into the garden this year!” says Maddie Buitenhuis, SOLID member and Grade 11 student.
The renovation, which is expected to be finished this fall, will combine the existing herb and vegetable gardens. It will also incorporate WDHS’s history museum. Six to eight informational signs will be placed around the east entrance of the school and the two gardens.
“We hope the garden renovation will promote SOLID, our commitment to the environment and a more involved community,” says Selah Bishop, SOLID member and Grade 11 student.
Mr. Smith, a WDHS teacher and leader of SOLID, says he is “happy and excited that education doesn’t have to be in the classroom.” He hopes that this renovation will attract more members to SOLID and lead them to become educated about social justice issues not normally addressed in the classroom.
SOLID members work hard to perfect their garden. As soil is added and seeds are planted, students and teachers alike eagerly await the exciting months ahead.