KING CITY — Agriculture students at King City High School left behind their greenhouses in March when schools were ordered to shut down as a response to the growing Covid-19 pandemic.
Since then, weeds grew and roses died, but hardier plants like succulents and rosemary survived the government-ordered neglect.
Students and community members were once again able to tread the grounds of the campus farm for a greenhouse clearance on May 20. Rather than take the ag projects and sell them as usual, the department chose to do a donation-based plant sale in order to clear out the site before demolition.
“We are having a new ag department built,” said Patrick Smith, one of the agriculture teachers at KCHS. “We usually have an end-of-the-year plant sale, but all that was put on hold with everything that’s going on. We’re trying to get rid of all the plants for the summer. We’re letting them go for just a donation.”
The new ag department is planned to sit on what is currently the grassy area at the corner of Broadway and North Mildred Avenue. It will feature new classrooms and shops for the students, and is scheduled to be ready for the upcoming school year. Smith noted there are no anticipated interruptions to the new facility’s construction.
“This is all part of the big cleanup and preparation for the new facility that’s being built here very soon,” Smith said.
Students made announcements over social media for the community to come by for the one-day clearance and pick up plants. The abandoned projects were able to head out into local yards and gardens to have a new chance at life.
The switch to distance learning to finish out the school year meant ag students left behind not only their greenhouse, but their workshops and animal pens, which had been cleared out in the meantime.
“It’s been a big challenge to students, especially in the ag department where a lot of learning is very hands on,” Smith said.
Three horticulture classes are hosted at KCHS; introduction to horticulture, greenhouse production, and landscape design and maintenance. According to Smith, growing, producing and plant identification are all foundation elements for the classes.
As for the funds raised during last week’s clearance, Smith said they will go directly to the ag department. Uses may include student projects, events, trips or attending conferences.
“We’re adapting and we’re going to overcome this challenge,” Smith said. “We’ve started planning for next year and we’re going to do what it takes to continue giving quality education to our students through whatever means possible.”