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Ahead of Earth Day, BCCS Students Gain a Green Thumb

Spring Project With Lynbrook High School Teaches Eco-Friendly Skills

On a beautiful spring day, a Lynbrook High School sociology class visited the Children’s Education Center in Brookville to assist students with a craft that will continue to grow.Lynbrook High School and BCCS students plant grass together in celebration of Earth Day

The craft, similar to a Chia Pet, was an interactive learning experience for the students. Students will monitor the growth of the grass in their classrooms, learning what a plant needs to thrive. With the guidance of their teachers and the Lynbrook High School class, the students filled little pots with soil and planted grass. They then had the creative freedom to decorate their pots like a Chia Pet, complete with a silly set of eyes, nose, and mouth.

“For our kids, of course, it’s beneficial because they love visitors,” said Denise Gaughan, Director of the Children’s Education Center.

Many of the students provided their undivided attention to carefully shoveling the soil into their pots and enjoyed using all the markers and crayons available to color the decorations.

Gaughan added that because the students will be off during Earth Day, the activity was a chance for them to do a planting and perhaps have a gift ready for Mother’s Day.

The program also benefits older students by allowing them to interact with their peers.

A student puts put into a cup for his Earth Day projectGaughan said that it was good for the Lynbrook students to interact and learn about people with different needs. It’s also an opportunity for students to consider a career in serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Jonathan Spector, a Lynbrook High School Guidance Counselor, said that the program has been ongoing for over 20 years and has inspired high school students to seek employment at the Brookville Center for Children’s Services and careers in this field.

Spector initiated the program because of his own experience at Brookville Center for Children’s Services, when he worked as a teacher’s assistant.

“I had such a great experience here,” Spector said. “I came here when I was in grad school and got a job in Room 5. It was so rewarding, and the staff was great.”

Koren Pena, a Lynbrook High School Social Studies Teacher who teaches the sociology class, said that great connections are formed between the Lynbrook and Brookville Center for Children’s Services students.

“It’s always more meaningful when you can get outside of the classroom and do activities that are hands-on, and you can engage,” Pena said. “It just becomes a really great memory for a lot of these kids.”

Lynbrook High School junior Peyton Leighley, who was helping the students decorate their plant pots, said the activity was fun and that she enjoyed seeing the students’ smiles.

“It honestly just warms my heart,” Leighley said. “I feel so special to be able to be here and help them and see how happy they get.”

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