Thursday, April 25, 2002
Flowers teach racial harmony
By Cindy Kranz, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cincinnati Enquirer
SPRINGFIELD TWP. Third-graders at Welch Elementary School in Pleasant Run planted seeds of harmony Wednesday when they transplanted petunias for two unity gardens.
The 68 students are among 900 third-graders in 15 schools participating in the Colors of the Earth project, which introduces children to the concept of diversity.
We hope to make them more aware of the benefits of a diverse community by helping them to recognize differences and appreciate them, said Martha Sarra, a member of Leadership Cincinnati Class XXV, project sponsor.
Volunteer Racelle Weiman (left) helps third-grader Justin Carter plant a flower as part of a program teaching racial harmony.|
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
The 3,000 seedlings planted by students will grow at a nursery until May 17, when they'll be transplanted in two gardens at Fountain Square and Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine.
The leadership class uses flowers as an analogy to embracing diversity.
Different plants make a beautiful garden, and different people make a beautiful community, said Ms. Sarra, a senior attorney for Kroger.
The leadership class is sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce to train leaders in the community. The class created the project to address issues related to racial unrest.
At Welch Elementary, Ms. Sarra talked to students about differences, such as religion, race, heritage and language. Like flowers, people come in different colors.
We like colors, Ms. Sarra said. That's what makes the world pretty, the different colors of the earth.
Along with diversity, students got a dose of science while planting flowers, learning what flowers need to grow. Naturalists from the Cincinnati Park Department and volunteers from the Cincinnati Horticultural Society are assisting leadership team coordinators at the schools.
Carolyn Campbell, a third-grade teacher at Welch Elementary, said third grade is a good age for the project.
They're old enough to understand the concepts and work independently on planting flowers, she said. This is the age where they do start to see differences in each other. It's a good time to teach them about working together and getting along.
Besides having fun planting the flowers, the students understood the diversity message.
It's not good to look at somebody and judge them, said Jessica Hudson, 9. You should get to know them before you judge them.
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