Billy Earl Dade MS Comm Garden
Billy Earl Dade MS Comm Garden

Special to The Dallas Examiner

“We would have never imagined that it would get this far, but we are very grateful that it did and that so many have come out to support this initiative,” said Kayla Valis, who is in graduate school at U.T. Southwestern for dietetics and initiated the concept of a community garden, along with classmate Rachel Kolm.

From a field of weeds, to fresh mulch and tiny seedlings, the new Billy Earl Dade Middle School Community Garden is sprouting more than just plants: It’s growing partnership and responsibility between the school and the surrounding area.

“This is such an exciting time,” said Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Dallas ISD superintendent, at Friday’s garden ribbon-cutting ceremony. “It’s always a good thing when a school steps up to implement a new way of creating community and leadership.”

The garden concept has been an ongoing process that involved many conversations between Kolm and Valis, the school leadership and the Leadership Cadet Core.

“We are so happy that what started as just an idea for a school project actually grew into a real concept that will benefit the school,” Kolm said.

Student cadets from Dade led visitors, supporters and district officials, including Dallas ISD Trustee Bernadette Nutall, to explore and visit the garden.

The most rewarding concept about the garden is that much of what is grown and sowed will then be harvested and transported to the culinary arts program at Lincoln Magnet Center, Dade’s corresponding high school. Lincoln’s culinary program is one of the district’s career and technical education programs and has been featured in several articles and television stations.

“Words can’t express what this means to our community to have a collaboration like Billy Earl Dade and Lincoln working together through this garden to grow our community,” Nutall said.

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