ROSELLE, NJ – Grace Wilday Junior High School (GWJHS) students are excited to use the funds from a new grant while honoring the memory of a late teacher.

GWJHS’ Suzanne Dixon was among three teachers in the Roselle School District who were awarded $500 grants under the Union County “Kids Dig In!” program. The grants were awarded based on design, development and cultivating a garden that produced vegetables that could be donated to food pantries.

The Grace Wilday Green Team began when eighth-grade students expressed a desire to start a garden. Under Dixon's supervision, these students selected a site, reclaimed the weed-infested lot and formed two sustainable gardens as well as a pumpkin patch.

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Students are learning how to use recycled items for their garden. For instance, they are using milk cartons as seed starters and hydroponics to sprout seeds. By using these two methods, students are gaining insight into the anatomy of a living plant.

Students selected vegetables reflective of their diverse cultures for their garden. Zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, beans, cucumbers, corn, eggplant and beets are just some vegetables that were grown in the garden, as well as bail and marigolds.

The different types of produce were distributed to the community, as well as to staff at GWJHS.

The money from this grant will help fund a garden extension in loving memory of Jessica Munoz, a special education teacher who was tragically killed in January. Students will grow her favorite flowers and vegetables.

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