Creative Classroom Contest: Lakeview teacher giving kids real-world lessons through gardening

Caring for our Community

The contest winnings will support an addition to the school's garden space, designed and built by STEM students

Each December, the WKBN 27 Caring for Our Community campaign recognizes four teachers across the Valley and surprises them with $500. Teachers apply to win, then a panel picks the entries with the best ideas. Our first winner comes from Lakeview Middle School in Cortland, Ohio.

CORTLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Lakeview Middle School teacher Marissa DeFrancesco is the first winner of WKBN’s Creative Classroom Contest and plans to use her $500 winnings for a rooftop garden space.

“We started a rooftop garden program last year at Lakeview K-8, and I got a grant, and we were able to develop the start of it. We are hoping to move into hydroponics so we can use it year-round and have all the kids work on it, even during the winter times,” she said.

The money will support a project to involve the 5th-, 6th-, 7th- and 8th-grade students in STEM class. They would be researching, designing and building an addition to the garden.

The lettuce that will be grown in the garden will be used in the school’s cafeteria, according to DeFrancesco.

“The goal in my classroom — and I hope these guys kind of agree — I just want them to be better problem solvers. To have hands-on experiences where they can learn something that’s not exactly the traditional four walls of the classroom type of route,” she said.

The Creative Classroom Contest is made possible through the WKBN 27 Caring for Our Community campaign in partnership with Huntington BankWindow WorldDunkin’One Health Ohio and Columbiana Chrysler Jeep Dodge and Ram Truck.

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