February 15, 2019 | BY Valentina Di Loreto M.S., Community School Director IS 126Q
On December 10, 2018, The Zone 126 team joined IS 126Q Principal Alex Angueira and City Council Member Costa Constantinides in a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the installment of a hydroponic lab at IS 126Q Albert Shanker Middle School for the Performing Arts. The unveiling is part of the Councilman’s green initiative to introduce students to innovative ways of growing food, learning about biology and applying technology to addressing societal issues.
Mr. Filpo, lead teacher expressed his praise, saying, “The lab has brought nature into the classroom.”
IS 126Q Community School Director Valentina Di Loreto, Councilman Costa Constantinides, Principal Alex Angueira, and students celebrating the hydroponics lab installment
Students are greeted every day by the smell of growing tomatoes and various herbs. In fact, some of the vegetables students have learned to grow, prune and harvest are: cucumbers, eggplants, peppers, chard, lettuce, and collard greens. When asked about how the class would use the crops, Ms. Hrisikos, a Science teacher, was proud to share about student community engagement, noting, “crops are collected and given to an organization that delivers them to a local soup kitchen.” Students can also take crops home, which gives them an opportunity to eat fresh vegetables and learn to make healthier choices when buying and cooking food. “The lab gives (students) the idea of being in a garden and seeing an alternative way of obtaining food other that the supermarket…They are mostly fascinated by the fact that food can grow without soil,” Ms. Hrisikos added.
The hydroponics lab project is expected to grow to include more students, expand the lab facilities, and present technologically advanced practices to students. This effort highlights IS 126Q’s presence as a community hub, creating local impact and improving the health of each student…one green bounty at a time!