Special education class will benefit from $1,011.95 grant

Stacey Scribner’s special education class at Bluestem Elementary will be getting another Tower Garden Growing System thanks to a grant from the C.H.O.K.E. (Community Helping Our Kids’ Education) Foundation.
Scribner was presented with the grant for $1,011.95 this week.
The tower is an aeroponic garden that is similar to hydroponics, but uses mists and water dripping.
The tower has several holes in it for a variety of plants, with the roots growing into the inside where it waters itself 15 minutes every hour. They also got the additional supports for plants to grow onto and grow lights so they can grow plants year round.
Scribner said they have had their current one about a month, purchased with a B.A.S.E. grant. The students put it together and planted seeds for lettuce, broccoli, basil, peas, cucumbers and tomatoes.
“With the one we are getting from C.H.O.K.E.  we want to do more fruits and things to make salsa,” Scribner said.
“We do a lot of cooking in here and life skills, and they get pretty excited about that stuff,” she said of her students.
She said every day her students come in and want to se how much the plants have grown.
“This is a great interest for them and could lead to future jobs,” she said. “We do a lot of ag stuff in this building. It’s a growing part of the district.”
Scribner said they have plans to make things with the food and possibly sell it to raise money for their projects, such as salads for teachers’ lunches or salsa.
This project was a perfect match for the C.H.O.K.E.  grant. Jennifer Tirres, C.H.O.K.E.  Foundation co-president, said their goal is to help kids’ education in Bluestem School District.
“We do our scholarship every year to a Bluestem graduating senior,” she said. “Through sponsors we are able to help further education in the classroom. This helps them beyond just growing plants. C.H.O.K.E.  is definitely on board to do that.”
They also have helped fund such things as the start of the FFA program.
“Every year we try to do something,” Tirres said.
They focus on Bluestem because David “Choke” Kohls was a teacher, coach, athletic director and principal in the district. He was killed in a car accident in 2007 and an annual golf tournament was started in his memory to raise funds for the foundation set up in his honor.
“I just appreciate that C.H.O.K.E. is willing to put their resources into our school,” Scribner said. “Things like this project wouldn’t be even be possible if C.H.O.K.E. and B.A.S.E. weren’t out there.”
“It’s just because of our sponsors every year that give us their donations,” Tirres added, “that make us abel to do this.”
The next golf tournament is planned for April 29 at Prairie Trails Golf Course in El Dorado. For more information, visit www.choke22.com.
“The money from sponsors and participants give us money that goes back to our grants,” Tirres said.