Permenter, Bray Earn “Seed Money” With Cedar Hill Green Award Grants

kids in front of school garden

Cedar Hill Green Award Grants Help Fund Garden Projects

(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) Permenter Middle School and Bray Elementary School earned Cedar Hill Green Award Grants for their respective garden projects from a partnership of the City of Cedar Hill, Waste Management and the City’s Beautification, Environmental and Sustainability (BES) Board.

Permenter received $2,000 toward its garden, and Bray received $1,000. Waste Management contributes the $3,000 and the BES Board decides who receives the funds. In past years, the grant has been split as many as four ways.

The awards started in 2016. Permenter is just the second CHISD Middle School to receive the award, while Bray is the fourth CHISD Elementary School.

“Cedar Hill ISD is an integral partner of the Cedar Hill Green Awards,” Cedar Hill Environmental Manager Duy Vu said. “We always highly encourage them to apply. With the STEM Curriculum, a lot of new projects will come to light, and we look forward to empowering the scholars.”

Gardening Offers Hands On Learning For Students

Vu said the City is looking for solar, robotics, arts and sustainability projects in future years.

At Permenter, Seventh Grade Science Teacher Cynthia Arceneaux’s class received the grant.

“This is an incredible honor for me and my scholars,” Arceneaux said. “I am honored to spearhead the garden here at Permenter Middle School and to have been given the opportunity for my scholars to experience gardening through hands-on learning.”

Arceneaux said Permenter’s Garden Project began last spring.

“Our scholars helped build the garden beds, and they planted our first crops,” Arceneaux said.”I tended the garden over the summer, so when our kids returned they could have a harvest. The garden is nature’s classroom and definitely a work in progress. It can serve as a model for so many science, sustainability and life lessons. My hope is that the garden will evolve as it grows.”

The grant helped fund more than half of the Permenter Garden Project, which is a total investment of $3,500, led by Arceneaux, fellow Permenter Teacher Scheneeka Aikens and 22 Permenter Scholars. Sometimes, the scholars’ parents help as well.

“The Green Award is going to help accomplish the goal of providing our scholars with learning experiences that will enrich their lives, hopefully for years to come,” Arceneaux said. “The improvements and additions that this award has made possible are immeasurable and so much needed and above all so very much appreciated.

This spring/summer we will have strawberries, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, corn, peppers, okra, cucumbers, peas, and ground cherries We will be adding two fruit trees this spring and we have an herb garden. This spring, we will be expanding and by next year we hope to be able to donate our harvest to needy families of Permenter and the community around us.”

At Bray, First Grade Teacher D’Lana Kines oversees the Garden Project.

“Bray Elementary is a school that believes in empowering the whole child,” Kines said. “Our motto is ‘learning is the journey, success is the destination!’ We want our scholars to be productive citizens that contribute to the advancement and preservation of this community. We want to teach our scholars how to be self-sufficient by allowing them to gain knowledge in gardening both plant life and various fruits and vegetables.”

Kines said the Bray Garden will be next to the school’s playground.

“We will have gardening experts come in and speak with our students as well as demonstrate the correct way to care for and maintain the garden,” Kines said. “This will be a school- wide endeavor. All teachers and students will be working to make this project successful.”

The $1,000 grant will provide the “seed money” to start the garden.

“Bray Elementary scholars, staff, teachers and administration are excited to begin this project and proud to do our part in helping keep Cedar Hill beautiful,” Kines said.