Halftime at Friday’s Mitchell High School football game saw students from Vicki Clark’s HALs (High Ability Learners) class recognized for their work on a grant for a greenhouse.
The grant is the “America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Monsanto Fund” of which Mitchell received $10,000.
“For the past year, we’ve been working on the greenhouse,” said Brock Knutson, eighth grader at MHS in HALs. “We’ve been working on cross-breeding and genetics and we came up with the idea of a greenhouse, like at colleges and bigger schools. We decided it could be possible to do if we worked hard.”
The students had learned about Gregor Mendel’s pea plant study in class and wanted to learn and do more.
So, students from 11th to seventh grade began working on the project. Originally, the students had hoped to raise money by working concessions at the games. HALs instructor Vicki Clark said it was a conversation with Jennifer Spichal, special services director at MHS, which made them decide to apply for the grant.
“The greenhouse won’t have the roll up sides, we picked the double paned one,” Clark said. “We also want it to be used by as many students as possible and the students.”
Many of the students already have an idea of what they want to grow or experiment with in the greenhouse.
“Cross-breeding and experimentation is going to be a big part of what we’re doing in there,” said Diego Larsen, eighth grader at MHS. “We’re not sure of what we’re going to grow, but I’d like to try raspberry hybrids.”
The students not only thought about what they will be planting, but how their greenhouse will keep their plants and hybrids alive.
“We’ll have a thermostat, heater, and also glow lights, so they (plants) can get light, even when it’s cloudy out,” said Craig Lemoine, eighth grader at MHS.
Representing Monsanto at the Halftime presentation was Ryan Gompert local seed agronomist with Monsanto Dekalb.
“It was just the reinvestment in agricultural education, that they found particularly interesting,” he said. “I grew up in Mitchell so this was especially nice for me to come back and be part of our company giving some money back to the community that supports us.”
The greenhouse which will be 10 x 24 foot, and will be located between the track and the end of the parking lot.
The school will work with contractors this fall, and if the weather cooperates hopes to have the greenhouse ready for planting in the spring.