Strom Thurmond teens get out of classroom, into nature

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 4:41 PM EST
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EDGEFIELD, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - Strom Thurmond’s agriculture students are working on planting and growing around 16,000 trees.

Cleo Heitmann is grateful for this opportunity.

“I’m an exchange student. I’m from Germany, and I knew this school has an agriculture program, and I live on a farm in Germany, so I really wanted to look into agriculture in the U.S.,” she said.

Students like her are getting their hands dirty. They’re taking care of everything in thE greenhouse.

Jacob Laughlin is the instructor. He said, “One thing I try to do with them is expose them to as many things as possible, so it kind of helps guide what they want to do in the future.”

“It’s the real world. There’s no make-believe, I don’t have to imagine what it’s like to do a bunch of trees. We actually do them,” said Laughlin.

Hannah Dyches plants a few hundred trees a day.

“We do this forever. All day, all class period,” she said.

She says it gets repetitive, but it’s better than sitting in a classroom.

“I’d rather be out here than doing class work, so I enjoy it. I’ve been in here every year since my freshman year,” said Dyches.

With this program, students are finding out if this could be a career for them.

Laughlin added, “If nothing else, they’re gonna really know by now if they want to do trees or not for a living.”

The program will sell almost every plant in their greenhouse at a plant sale on March 18.