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Hingham High inches closer to greenhouse goal

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  May 13, 2011 09:35 AM

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Hingham High School is one step closer to its dream greenhouse, with an anonymous donation of $50,000 to the project, which now is just $20,000 shy of its $100,000 goal.

“After the fund-raising that all the kids and community did, all the stuff we raised this year, we just broke $80,000. It means that we’re just about there,” said Dana McNamee, the Hingham High School science teacher who is heading up the project. “Between [additional fund-raisers] and hopefully with help from Hingham Education Foundation, we’ll be able to clear our goal of $100,000 to construct this summer.”

McNamee and team have been working towards a greenhouse since winning a National Geographic and Sunchips grant for $20,000 in spring of 2009.

Soon after winning the prize, however, they discovered that $20,000 wouldn’t get them even halfway to a greenhouse. See earlier story. In fact, it wouldn’t even buy them the roof.

Since then, Hingham students have raised $10,000 on their own. And with the $50,000 donation, their dream school project is within reach.

“The kids are really excited. They are also excited because they know this last bit of fund-raising is what will help put it over the top,” McNamee said.

The finishing of the greenhouse project comes as a bittersweet reminder to seniors, who won’t be around to see the finished project they have worked over two years. But as a show of their support, McNamee said all the seniors will have their names engraved on a plaque once the greenhouse is built.

“Even though the seniors won't be there to use it, they know that they have been there to [make it happen] and that it will have a lasting impact,” McNamee said.

Still, McNamee said the fundraising still has a way to go.

Students are continuing to put together numerous fund-raisers, including selling raffle tickets for the right to pull the infamous chemical shower ring in one of the science classrooms, which dumps buckets of water on whoever is standing underneath.

The project is also applying for grants through the Hingham Education Foundation, a private organization that provides money for initiatives in the public schools.

The school will submit the grant this week, and should get a response by June. With luck, the project will be completed by September.

“We actually would be able to go ahead and purchase materials with the money we have now, but the assurance we’d be cleared through all of it is the final push we need,” McNamee said.

McNamee is still actively looking for donations to round out the project as well.

“Whether that be in the form of services such as construction/excavation work, or masonry, plumbing, etc., or as a tax-deductible monetary donation … we are still actively seeking donations from the community to help see this project through to completion,” she said.

Although the project still has a bit to go, the excitement is uncontainable. Already, McNamee and the other science teachers have begun planning curriculum around the greenhouse.

“We already have some programs planned. We’ve already been working on the curriculum. But that’s a part of it! You have to feel like it will happen. Believe it will happen, and it’s happening!” she said.

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