Turn­ing Over a New Leaf

EMILY VOIGT, GRADE 10

The Hamilton Spectator - - OUR PULSE -

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.

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