I was in the backyard garden at my home in Hamilton one day when I thought to myself this could be a great fit for the Hamilton Township School District and the communities of Hamilton Township. I remember growing up and spending the summer days with my grandparents at their row home in South Trenton. My grandfather, a World War II vet, and my grandmother who had immigrated from Poland had a small garden in their tiny backyard. I remember as a child the peace I would feel with my grandparents as I helped them pick cucumbers and tomatoes. I can still taste those fresh string beans that my grandfather would pick and give to us as a nice snack. I think of our students today. So many do not spend time outside with family. Many students are glued to their devices and want to validate themselves through social media. Many of them have never had an opportunity to know what it is like to be disconnected, what it's like to spend sometime in solitude. Gardening offers those opportunities. It lends itself to the chance of incorporating mindful activities, a chance to connect with nature, a chance to learn more about oneself, a chance to problem solve and a chance to feel young at heart at any age. Our buildings and grounds in the district have some excellent "Green Space" that can be transformed into beautiful school-based community garden space. These prospective Hamilton school-based community gardens would provide opportunities of educational stewardship, increased academic achievement, improved physical health and improved social and emotional health. Hamilton Twp. School District school-based community gardens would create so many opportunities and positive experiences for our students, staff, district employees and community members. As a 2001 graduate of Hamilton High School West I am devoting my time to establish a school-based community/educational garden on our school grounds. I am hopeful that our community, alumni and local businesses will see the importance of such a project and help to make it become a reality. I believe that establishing a school-based community/educational garden at Hamilton High School West can pave the way for the rest of the Hamilton Township School District. With our efforts we can make the future more sustainable, improve the learning environment for our students and bring our community together. Help me take the first steps in establishing the Hamilton High School West Community/ Educational Garden. Thank you! - Mark V. Pienciak - Hamilton High School West Class of 2001.
- Heather Bressler
- Amanda Ruzich
- Linda Rigby
- Jillian Pienciak
PTA New Jersey Congress of Parents & Teachers (10717 Hamilton High Sch West Pta)
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