Superstar in Education winner William Penn High School hosted elected officials, faculty and staff, students and parents, and other community guests, at Historic Penn Farm on Tuesday, October 3. Serving food made with ingredients from their farm, the school held a reception in the barn at Penn Farm, where the school’s community supported agriculture (CSA) program, Farm to School, is housed. Following the reception, a pollinator field, made possible with financial support from DuPont, was celebrated with a wildflower seed toss.
The pollinator field, along with a transparent bee hive shed with a transparent viewing wall, was presented to the school by way of a $5,000 grant from DuPont. DuPont surprised the school and event attendees with the check at the Chamber’s annual Superstars in Education Awards ceremony on May 8, 2017, where William Penn High School was being recognized for their Farm to School program.
It is DuPont’s hope that the hive will provide a save learning environment for apiary studies, while expanding on current honey harvesting operations. The pollinator field will allow students an interactive learning experience in horticulture, as well as serve as local point of interest for the community. The field, dedicated as ‘Mrs. Pickard’s Field of Dreams’, was named for the school’s agriculture teacher, Kathleen Pickard.
DuPont was impressed with the winning application’s demonstration of collaboration with multiple organizations – William Penn High School and the Colonial School District, Delaware Greenways and the Historic Penn Farm, University of Delaware, and New Castle County Commons – and even collaboration within the school, as the program engages students from agricultural, business, environmental and culinary disciplines.
Additionally, PJ Simon, Manager, Academic Outreach (North America), says, “This program checks many boxes. The students are learning skills in an oftentimes overlooked trade; instruction is hands-on and engaging, resulting in increased attendance and test scores; students gain a clear understanding of potential career paths; and the program has even reinvigorated the careers of the teachers.”
James DeChene is the Chamber's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs.