US (NC): Former student teaches horticulture program

Charleston County School District’s East Cooper Center for Advanced Studies is helping students get career ready before they graduate high school. After 13 years, their horticulture program has come full circle now that former student Paul Millar is teaching the class.

Katie Donohoe started the horticulture program 13 years ago with one trailer on the Wando High school lot. Now, students have access to a rooftop garden, greenhouse, and a classroom filled with hydroponic gardens. Millar now carries on Donohoe’s curriculum, teaching the upcoming generation the importance of sustainability, appreciation for homegrown food, and understanding the science behind the soil.

A typical day in Millar’s classroom starts outside on the rooftop garden, checking on their plants like kale and radishes. Then Millar provides a lecture explaining the science behind their work, and students are back outside to tend to the plants.

“Getting them outside, getting them to work in the soil, working with plants. If nothing else, have an appreciation of where your food comes from and have a basic understanding of how to grow your own food,” Millar says. For the first semester, students will be donating some of their homegrown produce to the school’s food pantry for families in need. Also, plant sales are hosted several times a year by the horticulture students, and the proceeds directly benefit the program.

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