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Chula Vista High School students use gardening to transition back to the classroom

Teachers and students found a peaceful way to transition back to the classroom after a year of studying from home.

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Thursday was the second orientation day at a San Diego County high school where teachers and students found a peaceful way to transition back to the classroom after a year of studying from home. 

Chula Vista High School students were back on school grounds. But instead of being at a desk, they were gardening.

“It's an empty lot we transformed into an organic garden,” said Social Justice and Food class teacher, Maria Gallaher.

She leads the 90-minute college credit elective outside in the garden where students are creating soil, composting, and planting fruits and vegetables. 

"Students have been in front of a screen for over a year, [with] not a lot of social interacting and they say they have anxiety coming back. We want to create a place that is stress-free," said Gallaher.

"I love the garden. I felt so much happier since COVID and everything. I'm inside a lot, I'm just never outside. I just felt relieved and I didn’t feel sad anymore. It's the first time I felt happy in two years or so," said Chula Vista High School sophomore, Evalina Moreno. 

The garden has been there for six years and the course has become so popular, they now offer five classes. 

"I would recommend this for students that are stressed out or personal reasons. It's very relaxing," said Chula Vista High School sophomore, Ingrid Delgado. 

"I was tense and it was like a heavy weight lifted off my shoulders and it will especially be nice for other students who may need it in the future," said Chula Vista High School sophomore, Kevin Gonzalez. 

The students also have an Instagram page where students post pictures of the student activities and beautiful garden. 

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