It's nice to have kids around the table like that planting, because even the quiet kids, once they get their hands in the soil it really seems like they they really open up. They talk to you, they want to know what's going on. Whether it's about school or home, it seems like they are more willing to talk to you when their hands are in soil. It's just a neat experience.

One of my goals as Superintendent is to have a kid involved in everything, and I always have to give a kid a reason to come to school. That might be sports, or it might be band, but it also might be a greenhouse. If I can provide an opportunity for a kid to come to school and learn something about agriculture, I'm all about it.

Student Involvement is Key to Success in this Farm to School Program

During the 2010-2011 school year, Superintendent Dan Hawkins began a school garden program at Brockway Jr./Sr. High School, and in this interview, he discussed some of the impact this program continues to have on his students. Before students could begin gardening, they first assisted in the construction of a greenhouse, a planting shed, and multiple outdoor raised beds. While students successfully grew a few crops even during the first year, the focus of this project is student involvement. Superintendent Dan Hawkins, who started and runs this program said, Involvement with this greenhouse project includes students in the extra curricular Future Farmers of America Club, students in Family and Consumer Sciences classes, and students in woodshop classes.



Dan Hawkins - Dan elaborates on how school gardens can help motivate students to succeed at school outside of the garden.

Click on the play button above. Dan elaborates on how school gardens can help motivate students to succeed at school outside of the garden.

Dan Hawkins - Dan speaks about the long term student benefits of participating in a school gardening project.

Dan speaks about the long term student benefits of participating in a school gardening project.

Click on a Photo to See a Larger View with Caption

Exterior overview photo: A view of the Brockway Area Jr./Sr. High School greenhouse, planting shed, and two of the exterior raised beds. Interior view: An interior view of the newly constructed Brockway Area Jr./Sr. High School greenhouse. Students helped to construct this building, built the plant benches to support the plants, and grew many of them from seed. Photo of a group of students working outside: Brockway Area Sr. High School Students tend plants in exterior raised beds built for their school garden. Photo of a single student working outside: A Brockway Area Sr. High School student tends plants in an exterior raised bed built for the school garden.
Peppers in a box: Hot peppers harvested from the Brockway Area Jr./Sr. High School garden. Two students preparing peppers: While picking and cooking their hot peppers, Brockway Area high school students learned proper techniques for handling hot peppers, such as wearing gloves. Girl with pan of peppers: Using hot peppers grown in their school garden, Family and Consumer Sciences students at Brockway Area Jr./Sr. High School made stuffed hot peppers. Here, a student displays a dish of the peppers prior to baking. FBrockway Senior High School students hard at work during a weekly farmers’ market. During the market, students talked to fellow students and members of the community about the school garden, gave cooking demonstrations, and offered samples of dishes prepared in class with vegetables grown in the school garden

Stuffed Hot Peppers Recipe

Hungarian hot peppers stuffed with a cream cheese mixture and Italian sausage.
  • 1/3 cup ground Italian sausage
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 tablespoon garlic salt
  • 3 tablespoons grated Romano cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  •  1 teaspoon dried basil
  •  1/3 cup Italian-style dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 Hungarian hot peppers, cored and seeded
10px-spacer 2px-spacer 10px-spacer Instructions:
  1. Place sausage in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the sausage, cream cheese, garlic salt, Romano cheese, oregano, basil, bread crumbs and olive oil.
  4. Stuff the peppers with the sausage mixture. Place on a baking sheet, and bake in the preheated oven 20 to 25 minutes, until the stuffing is lightly brown and bubbly.

Additional Information

  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Ready In: 35 Minutes
  • Servings: 6

Original recipe from