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Gardening club a 'dream come true' for elementary student

By KBell
April 21, 2012 at midnight
Updated April 20, 2012 at 11:21 p.m.

Morgan Meyer, 10, front right, and other Chandler Elementary School Garden Club members watch as master gardener Gerald Bludau shovels hunks of dirt into a bucket to take an accurate soil sample of an area the club hopes to garden during a meeting of the club. Morgan started the club with the hope that gardening would help soothe and de-stress his fellow students.

TEACHER SUPPORT

Morgan Meyer had a meeting with teachers and principals to present his plan for the Chandler Elementary Gardening Club. After a few days, he said he heard back from teachers who were excited to help him make the club a reality.

The three sponsors are Jennifer Ernst, Melissa Monclova and Myrna Villarreal.

The bit of air conditioning collided against the South Texas sun as soon as he opened the front doors to Chandler Elementary School.

"This is my dream come true," fourth-grader Morgan Meyer yelled into the afternoon air, his hands thrust above his head in triumph.

Morgan and about 32 other students were making their way to the site of their latest scheme: a school garden.

This was the second meeting of Chandler Elementary's Gardening Club, which Morgan spearheaded and which other students have backed with gusto.

Though overseen by three teachers, the club is the epitome of student initiative and ideas.

They made their own rules such as respect ideas of others, take turns talking, etc.

They also brainstormed their own plans - learn how to grow roses for selling, use plants and flowers to conduct science experiments and make thank you cards for supporters.

"I'm thinking of this entire place filled with flowers, cucumbers, vegetables, everything. And then, after that, maybe we can help out the community, too," Morgan said, his head spinning around the school ground's blank canvas.

A 10-year-old going on 30, Morgan likes to call himself "Mini Moses," after famed community personality Gary Moses. He said he fell in love with gardening after learning from his grandmother, whose garden he tended when she was battling cancer.

"I started studying about plants, and I seemed to really like it. I mean, they're beautiful, yet they help out us, and they keep us alive and going," he said.

Morgan first proposed the idea of a garden club to his principal, Kimberly Barker, earlier this year. She tasked him with securing teacher leaders, developing a pitch presentation, finding sponsors and recruiting students. Now, it's all coming to fruition.

Others came on board for their own reasons, like 9-year-old Tia White, who said she is intrigued by the healthy food gardening provides.

"My grandpa has a garden, and sometimes I go there with my mom, and we garden," she said. "Every time it's fresh to eat, my grandpa invites us over, and we have a big feast."

The club is learning the intricacies that go into growing food and flowers thanks to help from Four Seasons and Master Gardeners. Gerald Bludau, of Master Gardeners, was at the club's second meeting to show the kids how to take soil samples and give them tips on getting rid of some of the weeds at their site.

While the students wait for results from the samples, they're pressing ahead with decorating stones that will go to Warrior's Weekend.

For Morgan, the support the gardening club has received from classmates has given him confidence. He said he hopes others can learn the joys of gardening, like he has.

"It's psychological that gardening helps soothe people that are under stress, and around this time, we need all the soothing that we can get because of TAKS," testing, Morgan said.

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