Student interest grows at greenhouse
Hillsboro High School’s greenhouse has been around for several years, but involvement in 2018 increased to the point where teacher Sonya Roberts had too many Horticulture 1 students to use the space.
“There’s no way I can fit 21 students in that greenhouse, it’s not possible,” she said.
Instead, the eight students in Horticulture 2 manage the plants.
The students self-supervise and choose their own topics. Senior Owen Funk chose to create a hydroponic irrigation system with a classmate.
“That’s the fun thing,” Roberts said. “A lot of the things we grow in our garden are summer things, but kids don’t see that because we’re not here during the summer.”
A promising sign for Roberts was during homecoming, when her students took the initiative to show their projects to alumni.
“They were very excited to show off the greenhouse and show people what they were doing,” she said. “That was a great success.”
Roberts oversees the operation, but she takes a hands-off approach.
“I hardly go out there,” she said. “It is completely up to the students to take care of everything.”
While Roberts has not had any pursue further education in horticulture, it helped one former student get a job in Walmart’s greenhouse section.
“Their biggest loss in plants is that somebody doesn’t know how to water them,” Roberts said.
The students this year don’t plan to continue horticulture in college, but they appreciate the skills for everyday life.
“It’s definitely opened my mind to having my own plants,” senior Cheyenne Bernhardt said. “Before this class I never did.”