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Around Cornerstone: News

Seeing God in the Garden


In Our Own Backyard

Mrs. Baines, our middle school Farm2Fork elective teacher, began using the Junior Master Gardener, level 2 curriculum this year for the plant growth and development aspect of the class. The Junior Master Gardener program is an international youth gardening program of the university cooperative Extension network. JMG engages children in novel, “hands-on” group and individual learning experiences that provide a love of gardening, develop an appreciation for the environment and cultivate the mind. JMG also inspires youths to be of service to others through service learning and leadership development projects and rewards them with certification and recognition.

As in the past, the class also encompasses hands-on cooking and taste testing. The cooking and taste testing are by far the student's favorite part of the class! Our nutrition classes allow students to take a deep dive into the macro and micronutrients, how their bodies use these, and how to make informed choices about the foods and beverages we consume. Sophie Squires affirms, “This class has taught me to make healthy recipes, and how important it is to eat clean to keep our bodies healthy. Mrs. Baines does an amazing job teaching us how to make delicious, but also healthy recipes!!”

 “I learned a lot just about plants in general, but Mrs. Baines always made connections with plants and our journey with God. I honestly think this helped me with my relationship with God. It is an amazing class!” - Emma Buek

Certification and Community

In December during chapel, these Farm2 Fork students were awarded Cornerstone’s first Junior Master Gardener, Level 2 certificates. Together they explored God's amazing plant world through plant classification, seed and vegetative propagation, plant parts, needs, and processes. It also challenged the students to serve others through gardening.

Pictured from left to right: Mrs. Anne Baines, Aisley Ann Womack, Jimbo Wilson, Finn Nygren, Sophie Squires, Emma Buek, Sarah Grimes, Jackson Galat, Noah Adams. 

Students worked hard all semester long to earn this certification. They had to complete key learning concepts from eight topics and undertake a personal growth project together with a community service project. “All of my students were a huge blessing, we learned a lot and had fun together too,” said Baines. “The things I love most about teaching this class are getting to know each student on a deeper level, seeing their God-given talents, and seeing the Lord spark new passions in their lives.”

Growing and Blessing Through Gardening

This year, their community service project was to grow plants from cuttings and take care of these plants. Vegetative propagation involves taking a clipping from a plant, placing it in the soil, and waiting. Before long, roots began to grow and new plants were created from an existing one! Finally, the students selected a teacher who had inspired them, wrote them a handwritten card, and gifted them a plant they had grown. 
Math teachers Mrs. Stone and Mrs. Richardson were recipients of the following students’ plants: “I chose to give my plant to Mrs. Stone! She was always such an amazing teacher. She is fun, thoughtful, and super sweet. Even if we were having a hard time she would help us and make it seem like it was not a big deal! She made 4th-grade math so much fun!” boasted Aisley Ann Womack. Sarah Grimes shared, “Mrs. Richardson is one of the best math teachers I've ever had. She is a great teacher and makes things I thought were hard before very easy to understand. She makes me smile every class with her fun and loving personality and is always patient with her students.” 
Cornerstone English teacher, Mrs. Burton, was the recipient of not one, but two plants! “I chose Mrs. Burton because she is an amazing English teacher,” said Sophie Squires. “She taught grammar so well, and always had fun songs for us to sing. She made certain concepts fun.” Jackson Galat added, “Mrs. Burton sparked a love of writing in me, and without her, I wouldn’t be where I am in English today.” 
Classmate, Emma Buek, chose Farm2Fork teacher, Anne Baines. “She's always been really nice to me. She is such an amazing teacher and I am so glad to have her as a teacher!”

“I’ve learned that God wants us to take care of His world, and that includes gardening.” Jackson Galat

Blessings weren't limited to giving their plants to teachers. In addition, each student was assigned one garden bed for the semester, where they were responsible for the day-to-day maintenance. “They loved the opportunity to take ownership over something that not only served them but also served our elementary students in the Farm2Fork classes,” added Baines. 
Spring is coming soon, so visit a local nursery with your children or pull out those seed catalogs. Plan your garden spot and read some scriptures as you do. Over the growing season, reflect on the lessons on faith your garden can teach you and your children.  As we continue to nurture, strengthen and cultivate our children, may they grow strong in God’s Word and go out into this world equipped to fulfill all that He has for them! 

Want to learn more about the Cornerstone difference?  Please click here or attend our next Information Meeting on Thursday, January 26. 


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