FFA Corner: Ag Time with Abby – Adding STEM classes to Dundee Elementary’s ag program

As I reflect on things I am thankful for this month, I would like to thank the recent donors to Project Fill ’Em Up: Jarrett Gordon Ford, Center State Bank at Southern Dunes, and Dundee Elementary Academy. Thanks to their generosity, there will be three less hungry Hornets at Haines City High School.

Speaking of Dundee Elementary Academy and their generosity, not only did they collect 150 lbs of canned goods, they also collected $313 to go to the national End World Hunger organization. Way to go Owls!!

This past year, Dundee has added a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Academy to their school. When Dundee Ridge Middle got a grant for their STEM Academy, Polk County School Board Superintendent Mrs. LeRoy thought it would be a great idea to have a kindergarten through fourth, as well as fifth through eighth grade STEM classes.

Mrs. Sara Molchany is the STEM lab teacher at Dundee Elementary and the only ag teacher in Polk County to instruct kindergarten through fourth grade agriculture.

Through partnering with different companies and the acceptance of many different grants, Dundee has been able to expand their outdoor classroom facility. Double Thumb Growing Solutions installed planters that make it easier for the young kids to get involved. Students are able to learn about the crops that they are growing right now, such as onions, strawberries, potatoes, peas, edible flowers, etc.

Evergreen Irrigation installed the micro jets in the outdoor land lab to help the crops grow efficiently; Haines City Sr. FFA donated chickens and cichlids for aquaculture; and Dundee Middle Academy donated the two rabbits, named Salt and Pepper!

Students not only get science instruction in the classroom, but also get to visit the STEM lab once a week for instruction. They perform science experiments as well as care for the animals and plants.

For more information on Dundee Elementary Academy, on their progress, applications (Which open up November 18 for the following school year) and more, check out http://dea.polk-fl.net/

As you reflect on your own personal reasons to be thankful this holiday season, remember to thank a farmer!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Abby is the president of the Haines City High School FFA chapter as well as the voice behind 97 Country’s segment, “Ag Time with Abby,” which airs the first Friday of every month during the Breakfast Club with Roger and Melissa. Abby is also the 2014 Polk County Farm Bureau Youth Speech Contest Winner. For questions, FFA news, or FFA story ideas, email Abby at abbigailreis@gmail.com.

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