Hersey High School Wins Jamba Juice Grant To Bolster Garden

© Richard Mortensen

John Hersey High School was recently awarded a $500 grant to help grow the Career Life Skills (CLS) garden that teaches students science and math, as well as employment skills, through hands-on activities. 

The grant, awarded by Jamba Juice and the National Garden Association, will go toward purchasing seeds and equipment to continue the CLS garden that began during the past school year.

"All students and staff will benefit from this grant," said Richard Mortensen, a Career Life Skills teacher who is spearheading the effort. "It will allow us to expand the development and implementation of the science curriculum and give our students essential life skills that are needed in the real world."

Over the last year, Hersey High School and the CLS program have received grants from the Cook County Farm Bureau, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and Wild Ones Illinois Prairie Chapter to expand the school garden.

The CLS program provides students with significant cognitive delays an opportunity for academic, vocational and social growth.

Through the indoor and outdoor gardens, students learn through inquiry by exploring plant life stages, such as pollination and reproduction. They've also applied math skills to determine plant spacing, plant production yields, growth rates and rainfall calculations.

The garden also provides students the opportunity to gain employment skills for future jobs and practice reading, writing and speaking through oral presentations, garden journals and debates. 

The harvest from the garden goes to the school cafeteria and has been used by the CLS students to learn nutrition, meal planning and cooking skills. 

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