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November 2015

La Merced Intermediate Unveils Drought-Tolerant Garden with Ribbon-Cutting with State Sen. Mendoza, District Officials

Ribbon Cutting

La Merced Intermediate Green Trojans, an after-school environmental awareness and garden club at the Montebello Unified school, celebrated the fruits of its labor by officially opening its Nature’s Garden of Survival – a drought-tolerant garden – at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 23.

MUSD Superintendent of Schools Susanna Contreras Smith was joined by District teachers, staff and adminstrators and by state Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Montebello, at the grand opening.

In December 2014, the club was awarded a $4,985 grant from the Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation to create a drought-tolerant garden on the campus. The 30 students from the All Stars afterschool program, who make up the club, went to work and rallied support for their effort with other noteworthy accomplishments.

Club members have learned about various environmental topics and issues through hands-on activities/lessons, guest speakers and field trips. They’ve learned about sustainable gardens, gardening methods, different composting methods, water conservation, recycling, waste reduction and consumer economics creating and maintaining a garden and drought-tolerant landscape area on the school campus.

“By engaging in this hands-on project, students that make up the LMI Green Trojans have improved our campus, conducted stellar community service and built essential partnerships within our community,” Superintendent Contreras Smith said. “We are proud of the example they are setting for our entire District.”

Under faculty advisers Angelica Paz and Erika Remedios, the goal of the LMI Green Trojans, named after the school mascot, is to raise environmental awareness and engage students in service learning projects within the school and the community. It is also designed to go along with the new California state standards and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

“Our school and community greatly benefited from this grant and the support of the community,” LMI Principal Alice Jacquez said. “We would like to thank our friends at Lowe’s for generously supporting this important project.”

Future projects will center on organic gardening and preparing healthy meals using the vegetables grown.

The garden, which was completed with assistance from MUSD personnel and volunteer faculty, is near the campus on Poplar Avenue, south of Avenida De la Merced.

Seventh Annual 'War on Hunger’ Food Drive Kick-off Event Marks Time of Giving at Montebello Unified

Joining forces with its community partners, the Montebello Unified School District kicked off the seventh annual “War on Hunger” food drive on October 13 to assist local families in need at Bell Gardens Intermediate School.

Since its inception in 2009, the Montebello Unified School District’s “War on Hunger” food drive has raised approximately 50,000 pounds of food to help several thousands of students and families. The bar has been set high and MUSD students, teachers, staff, community members and sponsors are carrying on their tradition of working together to support the project’s goal of at least another 50,000 pounds.

With Bell Gardens Intermediate Principal Ricardo Mendez serving as master of ceremonies, MUSD’s month of giving kick-off event featured speakers from the District and its partners from Heart of Compassion, Camino Federal Credit Union, the Montebello Council Parent Teacher Association and the city of Bell Gardens. The event also included a BGI student dance performance and MUSD students showing their support of the project.

"Making connections between learning and community issues is what we stress in the District, and our annual ‘War on Hunger’ food drive is an example," Superintendent of Schools Susanna Contreras Smith said. “We are proud of the work that our students have put in to make this food drive a huge success, and we will continue to encourage them to work together to address local and global problems such as hunger by proposing viable solutions.”

As part of its partnership with the District for this effort, Camino Federal Credit Union is also asking its employees and members to pitch in by contributing to the "War on Hunger" campaign.  Those interested can either make a pledge at a teller window or drop canned goods off at the Camino main branch, 520 N. Taylor Ave. in Montebello, through October 30.

Students and staff will be able to donate non-perishable food items or funds to help local hungry families at all MUSD school sites as well. The community may also donate at Bell Gardens City Hall (7100 Garfield Ave., Bell Gardens) and the MUSD District Office (123 S. Montebello Blvd., Montebello).

Families may be able to pick up food items at the Heart of Compassion Distribution Center (600 S. Maple Ave., Montebello) or may contact District homeless liaison Rose Hernandez at (323) 887-2133.