The school year is nearing its end, but Jefferson Elementary is setting its sights on next year’s growth.
The school will hold a yard sale from 8 to 11:30 a.m. this Saturday  to raise money for flower and vegetable gardens near the school’s playground. Teachers, parents and community members are bringing items and school faculty will run the sale. Jefferson Principal Myiesha Antwine said the school is tentatively planning to build raised beds and collect materials this year and start the garden in earnest next year.
“Each grade will be responsible for taking care of it,” Antwine said. “This year’s fifth graders will kind of start it, but by next year they’ll be gone and the next group will really start it.”
Antwine said the idea partially came from Jefferson teachers. She was looking for a project that would involve critical thinking skills and give kids a sense of pride, and multiple teachers already garden as a hobby.
“This will teach the students responsibility, how to eat healthy and how to grow their own food,” Antwine said. “Then, they can start their own small garden at home.”
If possible, the money will also go toward buying an awning or pavilion of some kind for the area by the playground. The school grounds don’t get much shade, and the area can get uncomfortably hot.
“There’s really no trees back there,” Antwine said. “So we’re trying to add some kind of sitting area.”
“People can come and shop, they can come and just make a donation to the school,” Antwine said, adding that community members wanting to get involved in the project can donate raised flower beds along with other gardening items.
Antwine said the school is also interested in having master gardeners teach lessons on managing the garden once it’s up and running.
“That’s just one more learning experience for my students,” Antwine said. “This is something they can take with them, no matter if they move to another city, another state, they will still have these skills.”
Kids have already started some outdoor projects, setting up bird feeders and birdhouses outside the school.
The yard sale will last from 8 to 11:30 a.m. inside the Jefferson cafeteria on Carter Street SE, rain or shine.