By Cara Hansen
Marketing and Communications Director, Rosarian Academy
January 19, 2018, West Palm Beach, Florida – As part of Rosarian Academy’s “Green School Initiative” for campus sustainability and to develop its students' stewardship of the planet, three new garden beds were added to its campus in October 2017.
The garden was ready to harvest in January. AJ Azqueta, Class of 2010 alumnus and owner of Prana Plants & Gardens, installed the beds and has since worked with first-grade teacher Mildred Acosta to help the students cultivate the gardens. Mr. Azqueta and Mrs. Acosta taught the students how to harvest the gardens properly. Second graders Santino Merchan and Vivian Lanahan helped deliver two crates of fresh lettuce, kale, peas, and other vegetables and herbs to Joshua Catering Company, a social enterprise of The Lord’s Place.
“The gardens provide students with a deeper understanding of the relationship they have with nature,” Mrs. Acosta said. “Students learn the importance of protecting natural resources and preserving the environment. They also develop a sense of citizenship, by growing crops and donating them to local community-based organizations. The act of community service supports one of Rosarian’s belief statements of educating students to make a positive difference in the world.”
The harvested vegetables and herbs will be used by Joshua Catering Company, which provides full-service catering for businesses and other non-profit organizations throughout Palm Beach County. All proceeds from Joshua Catering benefit the programs and services of The Lord’s Place, which works to end the cycle of homelessness. Joshua Catering provides jobs to individuals with significant barriers to employment and, in turn, helps them in their efforts to gain outside employment.
The Adrian Dominican Sisters, through a sponsorship grant, generously underwrote Rosarian Academy’s Green School Initiative. The initiative includes the expansion of the school’s vegetable gardens and the purchase of five new filtered water stations to reduce plastic bottle consumption.
Rosarian Academy, founded in 1925, educates students from early childhood through eighth grade and offers an exceptionally strong academic program enriched by athletics, visual and performing arts, and community service opportunities.
The independent, Catholic school is located in downtown West Palm Beach and is sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters.
Feature photo: First-graders Julian Angle and Zoe Sunderwirth harvest kale in Rosarian Academy’s vegetable garden.
Left: AJ Azqueta harvests lettuce with first-grader Elli Geis. Right: AJ Azqueta teaches and demonstrates how to harvest lettuce to a group of first-grade students.