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West Patent Students Participate in 9/11 Day of Service

 WPES students work together in the garden during 9-11 Day of Service

On Friday, West Patent Elementary School students came to school in spirit wear ready to work — pulling weeds, removing leaves, harvesting vegetables and more. The hands-on activities were part of West Patent’s annual 9/11 Day of Service.

“The 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance is a federally recognized day to help inspire unity and acts of kindness,” Principal Judy Brewster said. “Our students at WPES take part in this event by helping to beautify our school grounds, caring for our gardens and chickens and remembering our core virtue of kindness.” 

Before heading outside into the September sunshine, students watched age-appropriate presentations that explained how 9/11 became a day of service. The end of the presentation featured a video encouraging people to do one good deed on 9/11. Students then pledged to do a good deed over the weekend before working together on cleaning up the school.

Mey Marple from Westchester Local Food Project helped students with some of their projects and collected the 49.5 pounds of food they harvested throughout the day. The fresh produce was donated to the Community Center of Northern Westchester, reflecting the garden’s mission: Grow to Give.

After teaching students a gentle way to roll mums out of their pots before planting them, Marple gave them another pointer.

“Once you get your plant out, loosen the dirt a little and open it up so the roots have room to stretch out,” she told students.

Students were eager to help and not afraid to get their hands dirty. They also made observations on the nature around them.

“There are a lot of leaves over here!” one student exclaimed to his raking partner. His eyes lit up as he looked more closely around him. “Ohhh, it’s because there’s a giant tree right here!”

Out by the chicken coop, students were busy cleaning up feathers and turning over compost. When Superintendent Dr. Rob Glass visited, students were eager to show off their knowledge. One helped explain why there were so many feathers around the coop that needed to be cleaned up.

“Molting is when chickens lose thin feathers and grow thick ones for the winter so they won’t be cold,” she said.

Nearby, classmates were turning compost that had been resting for months. Students explained that cafeteria scraps like apples, bananas, lettuce and other fruits and vegetables go into the compost bin to help make healthy soil for the gardens.

“You guys did an amazing job!” Elementary Coordinator Denise Connolly told fourth graders as they got ready to go back inside.

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WPES students work together on the courtyard garden