RISD Trustee Jean Bono with students in Hamilton Park’s new Garden of L.I.F.E.

Students at Hamilton Park Pacesetter Magnet were bursting with pride Friday, anxious to show community dignitaries and Richardson ISD officials the work they’d been doing to create Garden of L.I.F.E. – Leadership, Innovation, Fine Arts and Excellence. The Outdoor Learning Center will allow students as young as 5-years-old to dig in the dirt and grow vegetables and other plants.

You can learn more from the project’s blog here.

“How many times have you asked your child, ‘Where do you get your lettuce from?’ and they said, ‘Kroger,’” asked Hamilton Park Civic League President Thomas Jefferson, Jr. “Now they know the true source, and that’s a blessing.”

Gretchen Caudell, chairman of the garden, was described several times as “the epitome of persistence” in pursuing the project.

“For those who were skeptical and voiced it, here we are,” she said. “For those who were skeptical and didn’t, thank you.”

Principal Michael Thomas, speaking directly to students, knew he could keep them in their seats and out of the dirt only so long.

“I know this is going to grow all of our learning,” he told the assembled kids from Kindergarten through 6th grade. “This is a legacy project.”

Principal Michael Holmes cuts the ribbon with Garden Chair Gretchen Caudell

Excited students were anxious to show what they had grown

Students have a lesson in the Outdoor Learning Center

Dallas City Councilman Adam McGough with Garden Coordinator Stacy Holmes and RISD Trustee Jean Bono

You mean vegetables don’t just come from the grocery store?!?