ROGERSVILLE — Students working on a campus beautification project at Rogersville Middle School are learning about gardening, but there's also a lesson being taught in community service.
Last week, Martin’s Greenhouses donated six big crates of fall mums and pansies to RMS teachers Jennifer Seal and Sharon Phillips for the school.
Seal's students decided to use the flowers to decorate the flagpole and the message board, which are located on the front lawn of the campus facing McKinney Avenue.
The mums are in the ground at the flagpole, but the Pansies haven't bloomed yet, so on Thursday students were prepping the ground for them.
Students also had a choice where they wanted the rest of the flower planted, and they chose the message board where they have already spent time trimming bushes and branches so the sign is easier to see from the road.
RMS Principal Greg Simpson praised the students for taking ownership of their campus and working to make it look better
“As a principal, that's a really big deal to me because I didn't ask you ... and you all are doing this as a class project, going around doing things for our school,” Simpson told students. “What's really neat about this, you started out front, and we're getting ready to have our Veterans Day program. You're putting flowers right underneath our United States flag, and when those people come in who have been it the military, and they see us honoring our national flag, that means a whole lot to them. Little things that you do mean more than you my ever know.”
But Seal is sneaking in a little bit of curriculum with this volunteer project. There was a botany lesson about the life cycle, anatomy and reproductive systems of flowers.
And, she also threw in some social studies for good measure.
“We talked about the stems, the leaves and the roots, and how they pollinated and reproduced,” Seal said. “There was also a social studies lesson about Rogersville leaders and how Rogersville is utilizing its beautification project, and how we can incorporate that here in our school, and being stewards of the community. In our social studies lesson, we talk about each of the leaders in our community and the projects that they do.”
Martin's Greenhouse didn't expect any praise or publicity for its donations, but Simpson, Seal and Phillips said Martin’s deserves recognition for being longtime supporters of Rogersville Middle.
“Mr. Paul Martin recently passed away, and he and his wife Teri have always been big supporters of the school,” Phillips said. “They have always been tremendous. Anytime I call them up. They gave us all these (flowers) and I went down there and was going to buy that dirt. She said, ‘Is this for the school?’ ... They've been a big staple out here donating. I can call her up and she'll send me whatever.”
But it's the students who are getting their hands dirty.
“It's always encouraging as a teacher or principal when your students take ownership,” Simpson said. “I didn't ask them to do this. They took it upon themselves to do this, so I was especially proud of that.”