May 4, 2022
PS 85 Ribbon Cutting: Great Expectations for a Wonderful Farm-Classroom!
PS 85 Great Expectations in the Bronx formally opened its NY Sun Works hydroponic lab in April! Principal Medina was joined by Executive Superintendent Erika Tobia, State Assembly Member Yudelka Tapia, and NYC Council Member Oswald Feliz’s Chief of Staff Theona Reets to cut the official ribbon and to pronounce the lab open. Funding for the lab was provided by the COFRA Foundation, in addition to a $5,000 Department of Education Office of Sustainability grant.
Great Expectations, an elementary school serving nearly 800 students in the Fordham section of the Bronx, is growing beautiful and fragrant lavender in their hydroponic systems that students used to decorate the classroom in addition to tomatoes, herbs, leafy greens and beautiful lettuce.
The lab has quickly become a place of joy and exploration for the students. Shared Ms. Montero de la Cruz, the hydroponic teacher, “a lot of them have discovered they like things they never thought they’d be eating. Many of them are saying now when they take their parents to the store, they’re saying, “I want to buy some swiss chard, hey, I want to buy some kale,’ so I’m glad that they’re taking that home to their parents to share with them.” And one excited student exclaimed, “My favorite thing about this class is getting to experience the plants up close . . .I’m looking forward to learning more this year.”
Students aren’t the only ones who are excited about what the lab has to offer. NY State Assembly Member Yudelka Tapia of the 86th District stated, “We should be doing this in every single school that we have, and I am always going to be a big supporter of these types of programs that actually teach our children early what is a way of living a good life and for the future, and making sure that they pass that through to the members of our community.”