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Home Depot Sows into Lancaster ISD Students

Lancaster, TX/Lancaster ISD – When Pre-K Bilingual Teacher Dolores Martell agreed to sow her time into sponsoring the new garden club requested by a class of third grade students on her campus at Houston Health Science Technology Academy, she was not aware that she was about to reap a reward of kindness just down the street at her local Home Depot store in Lancaster, Texas.

“I went to the store and started grabbing all the vegetable and flower seeds that I thought would make a great garden. While there, I asked a young lady for help to find some plant bulbs,” Martell said.  “She noticed that I had a lot of seed packages and asked if I was planting a large garden.”

Martell briefly shared that it was for a student garden club and what happened next truly surprised her.

“Her eyes lit up! Then, she told me that she was the district manager and that she could help me with some donations.”

Home Depot District HR Manager Amber Blair quickly reached store manager Will Jones and Home Depot donated 45 seed packets. In addition to the seed donation, The Home Depot staff has helped to provide a new life experience for these Lancaster ISD third grade students and Martell.

Martell said that the garden club started the week before spring break this year when a couple of third grade students wrote a letter to the principal asking for the opportunity to plant a garden.

 “Mrs. Sparks [the principal] asked if anyone was interested in sponsoring this club,” Martell said. “Although I have never planted a garden before, I said that I would do it. My husband has become my teacher and I have learned, along with the students, about gardening.”

Now, Martell and the student gardening club have created garden boxes, tilled soil and began the planting process. The student garden will both vegetables and flowers.

Principal Tatanisha Sparks shared the all-round benefits of the gardening club and how it supports student learning and socialization.

“Academically, students have utilized their math skills for things like measurement and perimeter. They have enhanced their science skills by learning about seedlings and the effect of sun, shade and water on the garden,” she said. “Students even used their writing skills to make the initial proposal to start the club and created flyers to invite students to the garden club meetings.”
Lancaster ISD aims to create rigorous, relevant experiences for students and for Mrs. Sparks, the new student garden club is another opportunity to extend their learning beyond the walls of the classroom.

“The garden club is a great idea for students to experience working as a team, working with their hands, and working with nature,” she said. “It also promotes healthy eating habits and gives the students a sense of accomplishment when they see how their hard work has beautified the campus.”