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Indian Academy students show off green thumbs

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MAY FLOWERS: Indian Academy student Matraca Harris took care to make sure the pink and orange flowers were perfectly placed.
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HARD WORK PAYS OFF: Indian Academy student Dionce Govan pitched in outside Gas City's city hall on Friday.

BY SAMANTHA OYLER - soyler@chronicle-tribune.com

GAS CITY — Indian Academy students rolled up their sleeves and dug in at City Hall on Friday.

The students teamed up with members of the Gas City Garden Club and the owner of Turning Over a NEW LEAF to create a floral landscape full of pink and orange hues in front of the city's municipal building.

A few hours in, students were covered in dirt, but they didn’t seem to mind. They were pleased to be a part of something.

“Given the opportunity, the kids love to work. This gives them something they can claim and be proud of. When they drive by, they can tell their families and friends ‘I did that,’” said Rachel Roesch, Indian Academy coordinator.

The project was also a chance to connect with the community and each other. When students didn’t have their hands full of soil, they sat and talked with their peers and waved every time a car honked in passing.

It might have been a simple day of fun for students, but it also opened up another avenue to explore. Roesch hopes this project could allow some students to get involved with landscaping programs and take up gardening as a potential hobby or maybe a future job.

“My grandma would be so proud of me,” student Matraca Harris said. “This has been a lot more fun than I thought. It’s nice to get out and do things like this because I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity.”

After a morning of hard work, faculty rewarded students with lunch. Some opted for McDonald’s, while other were treated to Pappies Lunch Box, a local food truck.

“The kids have to earn things like this. They’ve done a great job today and we’re really proud of them,” Roesch said.

This project was just one of the many ways the Indian Academy, Mississinewa's auxiliary school, tries to fulfill its mission to create a customizable educational experience for students. Roesch and the rest of the faculty believe that activities like this will give students memories and skills they can carry with them beyond high school.