Wednesday, November 14, 2012
In order to build an outdoor classroom and aquaponics facility, Ridgeland High School teachers are applying for a Clorox Power a Bright Future Grant. The top grant winner will get $50,000 and six other schools will receive $25,000 each.
“We were nominated to be able to participate in the grant contest,” said Wendy Matteson, who teaches horticulture, agri-science and landscape design at the school. “Because of Hurricane Sandy the voting will now run through Dec. 19. People can vote online once a day and vote by text message once a day too.”
Citizens can go to www.powerabrightfuture.com and key in “Rossville, Ga.,” to pull up Ridgeland High School’s voting page. People can also text “PABF3938” to 95248 to vote for Ridgeland.
“We will build an outdoor aquaponics facility to build collaboration between all departments at Ridgeland High School,” said Matteson. “We would like to build aquaponic pools to grow tilapia and plants such as lettuce. It would be similar to Inner City Aquaponics business in Rossville.
“The program that receives the highest number of votes will be awarded the $50,000 grand prize grant and the next top vote-getters in the Play, Create and Explore categories respectively will each be awarded a $25,000 grant. Clorox’s judging panel will select three additional lucky schools, one in each category, to win a $25,000 judge’s choice grant.”
She said Ridgeland has a pathway in agriculture, but all students would be able to use the new facility, no matter their pathway. According to the grant application, Ridgeland staff wants an area for students to be able to participate in real-life, hands-on learning.
“We already have an excellent aquaculture area that is being used by math, science, technology and agriculture classes throughout the school,” Matteson said. “We would like to expand this so that every student at Ridgeland can participate.”
Learning is more than just textbooks and memorization, she added.
The outdoor classroom would provide a space for multiple types of projects. The design of the new facility would resemble a large pergola with picnic tables and a shade cloth on top. The aquaponics area would include four pools and towers behind the pergola.
“Ridgeland High School can be one of only seven schools nationwide to win a grant,” Matteson said. “We hope everyone will vote for Ridgeland High School at www.PowerABrightFuture.com.”