South students grow plants with help from grant

Published 9:19 am Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Tamara Furr’s South Stanly High School students have been developing green thumbs this semester.

Furr, an occupational preparation teacher, won a $1,500 Bright Ideas grant last semester from Pee Dee Electric for their project “Planting Seeds Growing Futures.” Bobbie Whitley, her teacher assistant, helped her apply for the grant.

She bought two hydroponic grow tents in January for indoor plant growing. Furr was also able to get lights for the tents.

With seeds donated from Walmart and Lucky Clays Farm, the students planted and are growing tomatoes, potatoes, oregano, basil, beets, carrots, asparagus, herbs and strawberries.

A South Stanly student’s family helped to donate the soil.

“Almost everything we have has been donated,” Furr said.

The class has sold many of the tomato plants, along with basil and oregano.

Taking care of the plants teaches her students life skills and work skills, Furr said.

The students are responsible for taking care of the plants and making sure they get properly watered.

The students grew plants two years ago in tiny cups and sold them, but last year, due to bad weather, the group had no luck. Furr started investigating this year and discovered the Bright Ideas grant.

Her students enjoy coming to class and being able to see the plants grow, Furr said.

“I like planting them and watching them grow,” said sophomore Isabella Merck.

“The plants are my children,” added senior Cameron Gordon.

Furr is hoping the students will take the plants home once school ends.

Next school year, she plans to start growing new plants in the tents.

“It’s so exciting just to watch them (students),” Furr said. “That they’re excited about it, that makes me excited.”

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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