When we go out we always get distracted with a beautiful view. We sometimes even stop and take a picture. However not many people notice that we fix things up in order to make our community look better. Especially if it’s in front of a school building. Below are some experiences from students and interviews from the teachers who helped.
I am so happy to say that I was part of fixing the garden. To be honest, when I saw the garden I thought that we would not be able to fix it that much since the bushes were overgrown and some trees were dead. When we started to trim the bushes, it wasn’t that hard because Mr. Codio had bought some supplies from his house. Later we started to take out some roots that we didn’t need for the garden. We also took out the plants that were in the pots because Ms.Spaziani bought new plants. Once we all started to help one another, we started to see improvements, and we started to have an image of how the garden should look. Once everything was done, some students stepped out of the garden so that they could assess how the garden looked. My experience in helping with the garden was nice because I was able to help the community look good. Also, it was a fun experience because I really didn’t know much about gardening, but I was able to learn some things while helping out.
Aaron Ortega, WHSAD Senior
My first time gardening was yesterday, and I do have to say it was a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. Most of my family members have a green thumb and love to garden in some type of way, so with this experience I feel like I can relate to them in a closer way. I will say that my least favorite part was most definitely trying to cut and discard all the dead twigs and branches. The main reason for this was how tedious of a process it was and the amount of these twigs and branches. My favorite part was planting the new plants into the flower pots. I never knew that planting was a lot more intricate than it looks. I learned that soil can be unhealthy and that certain plants prefer different types of soil. The whole process was fun considering it was a new experience and I would be open to trying it again in the future on a larger scale.
Kimberly Castro, WHSAD Senior
On Thursday August 5th, being one day away from finishing summer bridge, incoming freshman, SYEP workers, and teachers started working on the front garden outside the building. There was so much to do: from cleaning, trimming, planting, and even taking out the roots of dead trees. I was in charge of taking pictures of the whole process and even got to do some planting towards the end. It was amazing to see the progress everyone was making, helping each other out all the time, learning about nature, and just having fun. This experience was different since I have never done this before and didn’t know anything about gardening. However, I enjoyed learning something new and in general just seeing everyone so engaged. Whenever I go back to school in September, I see the garden so beautiful and now I know the effort and hard work it takes to accomplish this and to maintain it every year. Everyone in WIlliamsburg High School for Architecture and Design has contributed to make this a better school. Everyone has put a little of themselves into our school and even incoming freshmen who were part of the summer bridge program are already working on leaving their own mark in this school.
All I can say is that working with students, friends, and teachers on this project was one of the best experiences from this summer.
Jeffrey Prieto, WHSAD Freshman
When I was helping out with the gardening it was a new experience for me to do gardening. It was fun to do different kinds of work the students had to do and there was mostly anyone that was helping out with each other. It was tiring as well. You will need a little bit of stamina and strength to help out even more. I was taught that whenever it comes to small trees, we have to cut off everything so it can take a longer time to grow back.
Ms. Newton, Freshmen English Teacher:
How was your experience?
“Thank you for asking. My experience was awesome! I enjoyed working along with my colleagues and some of my past students and getting to know some of the incoming 9th graders.”
Was there a difficult time?
“No, it was not difficult. I am an outdoor person so I enjoyed participating in beautifying our school.”
Have you ever tried gardening?
“No! I don’t have a “green thumb,” but because I love the outdoors, pulling shrubs and working alongside my colleagues and students was great. I definitely enjoyed the camaraderie and allowing students to see me participating in something other than being a teacher.”
Have you learned or taken anything from it?
“Looking back from how the garden looked before and after it was a great improvement and I was able to see the great accomplishments when we all worked together. “
Pedro Astudillo, WHSAD Senior
“On Thursday, August 5th we worked on the garden outside the Van Arsdale building. To take a step back before going into my experience on this Thursday I would like to mention that in the past I worked on the garden. A couple months ago I helped out making the garden look the way it does. We had to put in mulch and decorate the garden nicely. I enjoyed that experience before and thought I would enjoy this also. Now returning to this Thursday, it started off with Codio pulling out a couple students including myself and discussing with us what we were going to be doing outside. He told us that we were going to be leaders and help the other students with what we were going to do. I felt as if I was fit for the job, but a lot of my fellow peers did not understand why they were chosen for the job. In classic Codio fashion he ended up telling us what to do anyways. We used a variety of tools including hedge trimmers, saws, rakes, hoes, and cutters. Originally, Codio had told us to make a space to walk through 3ft wide, and we started to trim away some vines and pull out weeds from the ground. Once we finally had a little more room to move around, we started to try to get rid of a tree that was growing from within a bush. Marc Joseph started going crazy with a pair of hedge trimmers and was able to cut it down to the stump of the tree. From there we started to dig the ground and eventually was able to get the roots out making sure that the tree would not grow again. Ms. Newton eventually joined and started to help out. One thing I really like about Ms.Newton is that she isn’t afraid to get dirty and get to work. She even climbed down into a small pit just to collect the leaves off the ground and help us clean up. Then we kept cutting more leaves and branches until we came across another tree that needed to be cut down also. The stump was too thick to be cut by Marc and his hedge trimmers although I’ll say he gave it a valiant attempt. Codio came with the saw and definitely got pretty crazy( there’s footage to prove so). Later on we kept cutting away at branches and digging out stumps and trees. By the time we finished with the maintenance inside the garden, we realized that many of the students that started helping us out had left due to the fact that I was almost 1 in the afternoon. We had to start cleaning up and brought the trash bags full of branches to the trash bins in the parking lot, with Codio surfing the metal cart on the way back to the front of the school. We swept up the dirt or swept it back to the garden. Then we left to go home.
Felisha Solis, WHSAD Freshman
“I haven’t really done any gardening for a while so I was pretty excited to do some. For the first few hours I spent my time cleaning up the twigs and parts of trees that were cut down. Basically the trees were at the salon or that’s what I thought. After some time working with a few others it was time to prepare the flowers and where they would be placed. I made a mistake and accidentally shoveled dirt out of the flower pot instead of moving it, but I corrected my mistake. I planted one orange marigold and two purple mums. I was able to see that the purple flowers were mums from animal crossing, but that’s not really important. After planting the flowers, we cleaned up whatever twigs and parts of trees were left and went to go get water for the plants. Basically for watering the plants we recycled the cartons that the flowers were in to water the flowers. Recycling at its finest you can say! Overall even though it took a lot of work in the end, the front garden looks nice and new in the end.
Marc Joseph, WHSAD Junior
During Summer Bridge the SYEP and Summer Bridge students decided to take on the project of fixing up the garden space in front of the school. Before we did any work to the overgrown and dead bushes, we had to pick up the trash from the floor and rip out the weeds from the ground. Once we were finished with the weed pulling, we used trimmers to even out the bushes and cut off the dead and dry branches. Some of the branches were too thick to use the hedge trimmers, so senior architecture teacher, Mr. Codio, came in with the electric saw to cut them off. Throughout the experience it reminded me of Mr. Miyagi cutting bonsai trees. One of the hardest things in this project was pulling unwanted roots out. They were very difficult because we had to use the shovel to dig the space around and use hedge trimmers to cut them. Overall this was a fun experience. I really enjoyed working with my fellow SYEP and Summer Bridge students helping build a cleaner and better looking front space.”
Mr. Codio, Senior Architecture Teacher
How was your experience?
“It was amazing. Being able to work with the students and staff and doing something for our school community that we accomplish. Seeing the students coming together, laughing, working and having fun doing this project almost brought tears to my eyes.”
What made you want students to help you in the garden?
“I want to show them that they can accomplish anything, and they don’t need to wait until they get older to give back to their community. I want them to have the joy of seeing a project completed from beginning to end.”
What do you expect students to learn from this experience?
“I want them to understand that working as a team on a project makes the task more efficient and the work can be done when everyone is on the same page. I want students to learn that projects that we do can be fun and enjoyable. I want them to learn that what looks impossible can be possible if we all work together. “
Would you ever do this again?
“Yes, as long as I’m in WHSAD we will do this three to four times a year so that everyone can help the community.”