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Veggie U

This video is about Veggie U

Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Kathy Dykhuizen, a fourth-grade teacher at St. Jude Catholic School, helps Ava Panza, left, and Abbie Reeves measure out where to place plant seeds during the school’s Veggie U program.
Education Notebook

St. Jude students learn hands-on in dirt

It was planting day at St. Jude Catholic School as the fourth-grade students gathered for their second week of “Veggie U” classes.

Kaylee Lemley, 9, grabbed a bag of soil and quickly motioned to her classmate Kiera Johnson, 10, to help her push the dirt into place.

“Don’t pack it down,” Kiera said, explaining that the soil would need to be loose enough to allow the seeds room to grow.

For five weeks, the 45 students in Amy Bowman and Kathleen Dykhuizen’s fourth-grade classes will participate in Veggie U, a program designed to teach them how to plant and grow vegetables, the importance of a healthy diet, and the fun that can come from trying new things.

Veggie U, from Milan, Ohio, is a nonprofit organization that supplies classroom garden kits and a five-week science program for elementary classes. The garden kits cost $450 per classroom, but St. Jude received a donation from Eddie Merlot’s to cover the cost.

Throughout the program, the students care for a worm farm, raise a mini crop and celebrate “graduation day” with a vegetable feast day. They also keep a detailed journal, outlining their lessons with room to sketch images of their projects and hypothesize about how quickly different plants will grow.

Creating a worm farm was the best part so far, Dalton Jefferson, 10, said.

He and his classmate Mark Bogle, 10, enjoyed stacking a 2-liter bottle with dirt, garbage and leftover veggies before adding a few worms.

“Mark and I liked our worm so much that we named it Squirmy Wormy,” Dalton said.

Students also performed a vegetable taste-test that included unfamiliar veggies like anise, beets and popcorn shoots, as well as carrots, cauliflower and romaine lettuce.

“I think it’s a good experience because we’re learning about growing things and trying different vegetables,” Ava Panza, 10, said. “They aren’t all that good, but it’s good that we’re trying them.”


•Head Start programs in Steuben and LaGrange counties are accepting applications for fall enrollment for children ages 3 to 5. The program is Monday through Thursday each week, beginning in September and running through May. For an application, call 495-4775 or 1-800-551-9819.

•Fort Wayne Chinese Families and Friends Association will host a New Year gala dinner party at IPFW Walb Union Ballroom from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

•Bishop Dwenger High School will welcome area show choirs during the Summit Sound Invitational on Saturday. Day performances begin at 9 a.m. with awards at 5 p.m. Evening performances begin at 6:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $8 for the day, or $12, which includes both day and evening performances.


•Scholarships are available for students who are descendants of graduates of Fort Wayne Central High School (1922-71). Several $500 scholarships are available for first-year college students and one $1,000 scholarship to a current Junior/Education major student. The deadline to apply is April 14. For more information, contact Bonnie Arnold at or the Anthis Career Center at 467-1005.

•Nominations for students ages six to 18 will be accepted Friday through March 14 at, and nominators must be 21 years or older. Through the program, Kohl’s will award more than 2,300 young volunteers nearly $400,000 in scholarships and prizes to reward kids who have made a positive impact on their communities.


•Girl Scout Juniors and Cadettes are invited to attend the “Wow! That’s Engineering” workshop Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at IPFW in the Engineering, Technology and Computer Science Building. Attendees will meet in the building lobby. Admission for the workshop is free and includes lunch and a badge.

•The Doermer School of Business at IPFW has maintained its business accreditation by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International.

•Gavin Mosier, a sophomore at IPFW, has been selected to participate as an intern in the Spring Advantage Program 2014 as a part of the Disney College Program.

Wendy Koble r has been appointed vice chancellor for advancement at IPFW. In this role, Kobler will serve as the chief fundraising officer while overseeing primary development, marketing and alumni relations for the campus.

Education Notebook listings appear on Mondays. To submit an item, send a typed release from the school or organization to Education Notebook, The Journal Gazette, P.O. Box 88, Fort Wayne IN 46802-0088; fax 461-8893 or email at least two weeks before the desired publication date.