Special needs students plant garden at South-Doyle Middle

6:03 PM, Mar 29, 2010   |    comments
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If you ask Brad Bowles 'How do you make your garden grow?' he will tell you the secret is team work. It takes hardworking hands that aren't afraid to get a little dirty to create an array of beautiful plants, flowers, and fresh vegetables.  

"God made dirt, and dirt don't hurt," he says.  

As the special education teacher at South-Doyle Middle School, Brad wanted to create an outdoor academic environment for his students. Together, they have built a garden filled with all sorts of fruits and vegetables.

"We have two apple trees, a cherry tree, and two dogwood trees, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts."

Even though the students in Brad's class have multiple disabilities and get around in wheel chairs, they're still hard at work.

"We really wanted something that would allow our students to have a hands-on experience learning academic skills, job skills, and have social interaction in the whole school."

Each student has a special job, one they had to apply and interview for.

"They were so nervous for this interview," teacher assistant Teresa Johnson says. "They filled out the application, and they dressed for it, and they went for the interview with the principal and Mr. Bowles."

Then they anxiously awaited a phone call from their teacher.

"I think that day that they got the call changed me. It made me appreciate life a lot more," Johnson says. "When you saw the tears in Patrick's face when he got that job and how excited he was, and Timothy jumping for joy, to them this is real."

Brad's garden crew is never out of fresh new ideas for their project.

"We actually got in over our heads a little bit--we decided we would make an irrigation system."

A picnic table and a shed are also on the wish list, along with a few other things.

"Timothy is dying for some overalls, so I'm trying to work on getting that for them, 'cause they actually think they're little farmers," Johnson says.

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