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LCPS teachers pace state as Ag in Classroom grant winners

Five LCPS teachers collected more than $1,900 for classroom projects as winners of Ag in the Classroom grants provided annually by the North Carolina Farm Bureau.

LCPS winners were Alicia Davis and Katherine Sowers of La Grange Elementary School, Bobbi Colie of Banks Elementary School, Laura Stewart of Southwood Elementary School and Molly Feezor of North Lenoir High School.

This year, Ag in the Classroom grants valued at more than $28,000 went to 63 teachers in 43 counties. No school district won as many grants as Lenoir County Public Schools.

The $350 grant won by Davis will be used to create a space for strawberry plants and blueberry bushes near the school’s outdoor classroom. “In cooperation with our physical education teacher, who has begun an agriculture club at school, we would like to educate our students to not only plant the young berries but to research the best practices when tending berry bushes and plants,” she said.

Sowers won a $340 grant to help kindergarten students learn more about the impact of agriculture on the environment. “They will be immersed in a growing project that will also involve their families and potentially community members. Students will plant, care for and harvest plants to help deepen their understanding of the process involved in getting food from the farmer's field to our tables. In the spring, students will get to invite guests to sample our microgreens and check out our ‘crops’,” she said.

Stewart’s $500 grant will allow students to plant, maintain and harvest a vegetable garden. “Students will sample the produce and learn about the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables,” she said.

Colie entitled her grant application “Sweet Potato Hill.” Her $241 winnings will be used to teach students about the sweet potato plant and its life cycle and will also serve as a memorial to her grandfather, Kendall Hill, co-owner of Tull Hill Farms. “My granddaddy passed away unexpectedly in August 2023. North Carolina agriculture was a huge part of his life and sweet potatoes were his absolute passion,” she said.

Feezor, who teaches agricultural mechanics at North Lenoir, will use her $496 grant to make the small engines unit of her Agricultural Mechanics II class more engaging. “We will be purchasing oil drain hoses as well as mechanics tool kits and socket sets to use in the spring. With these tools we will be disassembling and rebuilding small engines that were donated by Kholer. We will discuss the components of small engines, discuss two- and four-stroke theories, and then look at each component as we tear down and rebuild small engines. This hands-on experience will give students the chance to try out this facet of agriculture while supporting their learning of the curriculum.”