Saint Saviour HS Opens Greenhouse Classroom


Saint Saviour High School located in Park Slope, but a popular choice for local students, recently held a Ribbon Cutting, Blessing, and Dedication of the school’s indoor hydroponic greenhouse classroom. Saint Saviour is the first high school in the Brooklyn Diocese to offer this experience in partnership with New York Sun Works' Greenhouse Project.

The hydroponic greenhouse classroom was blessed by the Most Reverend James Massa, and was dedicated to former faculty member Ms. Roberta Willard, who began teaching environmental science at Saint Saviour in the 1980s, retiring in 2012.

As the founder of Saint Saviour’s Environmental Science program, Ms. Willard’s vision was the springboard for the creation of the new hydroponic greenhouse classroom. Ms. Willard was extremely grateful the classroom was dedicated to her: “After 31 years of teaching at Saint Saviour and running beach clean-ups and other environmental community service projects, I am extremely honored to be a part of this special day with my Saint Saviour family.”

The hydroponic greenhouse classroom is under the management of Science Department Chairperson and alumna Ms. Eileen Cush. Saint Saviour High School believes that hydroponic farming technology is a unique innovation in learning that provides students with the resources they need to meet the challenges of the future and be leaders of a better world. Some of the crops that have been grown hydroponically in the classroom include: cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, lettuce, mint, rosemary, as well as nasturtium, an edible flower.

According to Principal Dr. Paula McKeown, "This is an exciting time for St. Saviour High School. Our students have been able to learn about Plant Based Sustainable Agriculture and the impact it will have on the future. This lab has also allowed for cross-curricular activity, such as the Senior Art Class sketching in the room and Campus Ministry organizing a donation of fresh produce to C.H.I.P.S (the local soup kitchen). In this first year, the lab has provided even more opportunities for our young women to become agents of change in an ever-changing world.”

New York Sun Works, founded in 2004, is a non-profit organization that uses hydroponic farming (soil-less planting) technology to educate students and teachers about the science of sustainability. NY Sun Works created the Greenhouse Project, an initiative dedicated to improving K through 12 grade environmental science education through the lens of urban agriculture, empowering children to make educated choices about their impact on the environment.