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Sponsors sought for garden project

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Sulphur Springs Elementary School’s fourth grade classes spent last month building raised garden beds for their Discovery Garden Project. In the coming weeks, SSES is going to be raising chickens, sheep and calves and plant various crops. To fund this project, SSES took a field trip around Sulphur Springs Friday afternoon to raise awareness for their project and to procure additional sponsors.

Last month, SSES worked with Hopkins County Extension Agent Mario Villarino on a grant to help cover the initial costs of the new garden. SSES received $5,000, which covered the soil and lumber costs for the project. A plant sale was also held in early February to raise additional funding.

By the beginning of March, 15 raised garden beds had been constructed, filled with soil and readied for the planting process. The next step was to raise $1,000 in sponsorships to help purchase all the plants, feed and housing for the incoming livestock. 

“Back in November, we decided that our students needed to learn how to grow their own food, eat healthier and learn about agriculture,” said SSES teacher Misty Brock. “SSES is looking for sponsors to help us purchase the vegetables needed to start our gardens. Our fourth grade classes will be planting lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, beets and onions. Our goal is to harvest the plants at the end of the semester and have a salad day.”   

At 1 p.m. Friday, determined fourth graders loaded up in a school bus. They had practiced presentations about their garden project to raise sponsorship.  Some of the locations they visited included Nortex Tractor, Alliance Bank and City National Bank.

Alliance Bank President and CEO Tom Sellers met with the classes at the bank on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. 

“Welcome everyone. What can I do for you?” asked Sellers.

The students talked about the importance of food, where it comes from, what they had learned about agriculture thus far and why they needed sponsorship to continue the project. 

“I would be happy to help the Discovery Garden Project. I graduated with an agriculture degree when I went to college and I know how important this project is to your class,” said Sellers. “Maybe when your class is finished growing your crops, I can stop by and come see you guys?”

The SSES students agreed with Sellers’ proposal and left his office, headed to their next business presentation. Once all of the sponsorship money has been raised, chickens, sheep and calves will be brought to SSES. 

“We should be getting all of our animals after spring break. We will also be getting the sheep we took care of last year,” said Brock. “SSES is really starting a real farm. There are so many of our students that do not know where items like eggs come from. That’s why the SSES Discovery Garden Project is going to be so great for our students.”    


Students win blue ribbons at San Antonio show

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Sulphur Springs High School students all received blue ribbons in all their categories at San Antonio Junior Agricultural Mechanics Show this past weekend. 

“This is my second year at the competition, and I am pretty used to the operations,” said SSHS student Ethan Phillips. “Overcoming obstacles when you build a project is always the most difficult.”

Phillips and partner Quinton Joslin built a 10 foot metal brake which will be used by SSHS at the end of the semester. 

“This past weekend, SSHS entered a 32 foot gooseneck trailer, sheet metal brake, cattle loading chute and shop table,” said Phillips. “We arrived on Friday but Saturday was the judging. On Saturday, we were ready around eight in the morning and waited for the judges to come by and look at what we built. On Sunday, they awarded prizes and announced class and division winners.”

SSHS high school students have been preparing for the San Antonio show and the upcoming Houston show, which will be during spring break, since the beginning of the year. 

“One of the most important things in a bigger competition is getting your book right. Every show has a different set of rules and guidelines like how many pictures are supposed to be in your book. Even when we are entering the same project into the Houston show that we did at San Antonio, we have to check all the addition guidelines on their website and be prepared. ... No matter how much hard work you put into your project, there is still more you can do,” said Phillips.

Students who participated in the show were Hunter Stonaker, who received first place in his class for a 32 foot gooseneck trailer; Phillips and Joslin entered a sheet metal brake and received second place in their class; Carson Hicks, Clancy Horton, Drew Forsman, Ricky Wyly, Logan Merrell, David Ramsey received a blue ribbon for a cattle loading chute and Sloan McGahee and Mason Cleveland received a blue ribbon for their shop table.  

Texas Public School Week: School districts host open houses

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At least five Hopkins County school districts will observe Texas Public Schools Week by hosting at least one night of open house activities next week.


CPCISD to call off trustees election

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Como-Pickton Consolidated Independent School District, like Sulphur Springs ISD, will not be holding a trustees election in May.


Regional Science Fair

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Miller Grove students Derek McCreight and Tiffany McManus placed seventh overall at East Texas Regional Science Fair Feb. 27 with their science fair project, "The Transmogrification of Water Filtration." They won first place from Water Environment Association of Texas and Texas Water Utilities Association, the American Chemical Society and The Society In Vitro Biology.

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