Orange County teacher keeps students’ agriculture projects alive amid pandemic

Teacher utilizes Zoom to update students on projects’ progress

It’s a dilemma teachers faced when schools shut down their campuses when the pandemic began: what happens to students’ projects when they cannot work on them at school anymore?

Agriculture teacher Amy Paterson wasn't about to let the learning die inside her greenhouse.

“That’s my job as their advisor and their teacher is to do those things to make sure their project survives," Amy Paterson said. "We cannot allow this situation that we’re in to stop the learning and educational process.”

For the past two months, this Windermere High School teacher has single-handedly helped keep those projects alive, including a hydroponic farm involving mangroves.

“We are testing, using these fish, to see mangroves grow faster and better,” junior Hendrix Paterson said. “We were so worried about it. We put our hearts and souls into these tanks.”

“They had been at this project for three months, this is when the research was really supposed to start happening and nobody could come on campus,” Paterson said.

Juniors Isabella Scramoncin and Hendrix Paterson received special permission from the school district to come back on campus to see in-person the outcome of their agriculture project.

"I think it’s really cool to see them in person now," Scramoncin said. "It’s the first time I’ve been back in the greenhouse."

"This is definitely better than a Zoom call," Hendrix Paterson said. "I can tell you that much."

About 200 mangroves will be delivered to the University of Central Florida and likely planted at Canaveral National Seashore to help slow coastal erosion.

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