BROCK — Spring will be extra green in Brock next year, as students begin digging into their future inside a greenhouse planted on their high school campus.
Senior Mya Alford, one of 177 Eagles enrolled in the school’s horticulture pathway, understands the pride that comes with nurturing plants.
“Being able to see something start from a seed and watch it blossom and grow and go through its different stages,” she said Thursday, sitting in the ag building with fellow horticulturists.
Classmate Ashlynn Rogers added that husbandry makes the world prettier.
“Knowing that will benefit somebody else, providing a flower,” the junior said.
Or, it could bring nourishment of the physical variety.
“It could feed a hungry person, with the crops that you grow,” sophomore Avery Hyatt added.
The benefits of horticulture go both ways, junior Kagen Schrick noted.
“You can start it from just having a whole bunch of seeds,” he said, adding that nurturing them into show plants can earn scholarships. “It just helps everybody.”
Students will plant annuals for landscape design once they get into their new classroom, ag instructor Dave Marcath said. Fellow agriculture teacher Laura Horner said students will learn hydroponics, and will create landscape projects for one campus each year in the 3A district.
“We also plan to have horticulture and crop projects in the greenhouse,” Horner said.
Groundbreaking for the greenhouse was held two weeks ago on the lawn immediately west of the ag building.
“It should be up by Christmastime,” high school Principal Bobby Atchley said.
The Brock ISD school board in September authorized $14,000, from excess 2019 bond funds, for the greenhouse. Board President Bill Cooper said trustees are “so happy” to include the greenhouse among students’ tools for success.
“It has been needed for some time and will allow them the ability to get hands on experience outside of the classroom,” Cooper said. “We’re proud of the program that Mr. Marcath and Mrs. Horner are building with over 177 students in the horticulture pathway.”
The facility also will help the high school Future Farmers of America members in their work with the Junior FFA kids, ages 3 and 4, whom they already tutored in this year’s floral competition.
“It doesn’t restrain the kids’ creativity,” Alford explained as an advantage of the controlled-environment of a greenhouse.
Marcath also said the ancient science of horticulture has meshed easily with modern science.
“Computer science in the information age is definitely awesome,” he said. “We talk about horticulture and much of that from a computer standpoint now.”
Watering regimens and climate control, he said, can be programmed.
“Most of it can be done from a cell phone,” Marcath said. “We have a lot of people who may or may not know that horticulture, or plant science, is their passion in life.”
Rogers resembles that remark. The daughter of a cattleman, she grew up showing animals at livestock events and said she was never attracted to plant science until it grabbed her imagination in high school.
Austin Cole, a junior, grew up around horticulture as the third generation in Cole’s Plants, a wholesale nursery on Interstate 20.
“My dad, personally, he’s always working in it, the greenhouses, to make sure everything is in top condition,” he said. “If something is dying, we’ve got to know what fertilizers (to apply) and the percentage of shade.”
Hyatt added the young horticulturists are in good hands in Brock.
“The ag teachers, they’re always pushing you and saying, ‘You can do this,’” she said. “They want you to do more and strive high.”
Schrick added that he aspires to pass his love of farming to his own sons and daughters.
“That would be great, because my grandparents were all involved in agriculture,” he said. “My whole family is involved in agriculture. It would be amazing for the next generation to be involved in agriculture.”