Woolly School Gardens Profile: Angel’s Gate High School

Jun 04, 2010

Woolly School Gardens is in the midst of a month long effort to bring school gardens to 250 schools across the country. Each of these schools has a story to tell. Their students are eager to begin growing plants and learning about nutrition. As we spread the word about Woolly School Gardens, and ask for your support, we thought it would be woolly to profile some of the schools in line to receive gardens.

Today we visit Angel’s Gate High School in San Pedro, California! Principal Joan D’Amore was very kind to tell us about her school and the amazing students who are thriving in this special learning environment! Take it away, Joan!

Angel’s Gate High School is a continuation high school serving the students of San Pedro, California. Angel’s Gate is adjacent to a suburban residential neighborhood on property formerly known as the Upper Reservation of Fort MacArthur. Current students enrolled:  6 African Americans (7.1%), 67 Hispanics (79.8%), 1 Pacific Islander (1.2%), 10 Caucasians (11.9%). Seventy four (88.1%) students claim more than one ethnicity. Our students range from 15 to 19 years of age.  Most are 16 or 17. Currently enrolled are 49 boys and 35 girls. Fifty-seven percent of our students participate in the free and reduced price meal program.

Unlike most other continuation schools in the District, we do not share the high school campus. Standing alone, Angel’s Gate High School is located near Point Fermin which is the tip of the Palos Verdes Peninsula surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. We are located in front of the Marine Mammal Center, a facility for rehabilitating injured and sick sea mammals, adjacent is an Oiled Bird Center for rehabilitating injured and sick sea birds.  There is a Cultural Center run by the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks also on this property, a military museum, and an additional tourist attraction, the Korean Friendship Bell just several yards away.  A 2.5 acre Outdoor Education Center is being constructed on the hill above us and will soon be open. There is an Early Education Center across the parking lot.  We are hoping our students will become involved with these entities.  Students over 18 may volunteer at the Marine Mammal Center and any student interested can volunteer at the Early Education Center. Student may earn elective credits for these activities.

Most of the students come to Angel’s Gate because they are way behind in credits to graduate. They are behind, many times, due to high absenteeism. Often, these students find the large high school too impersonal and chaotic for them.

To a large extent, students are allowed to work at their own pace. We offer students rigorous curriculum in a small and caring environment. Students receive a lot of individualized attention. The atmosphere is relaxed but structured.  Students are very aware of our high expectations for them to succeed.

When our school was moved to its current location, sitting on blacktop, we had no trees, foliage, flowers, or anything growing (we have no dirt).  We finally got two large palm trees in containers and have since added several potted plants with flowers and greenery to enhance the look of the school. The students are happy with the plants and some are genuinely interested in taking care of them. I would say that many students have never had a garden, or planted anything.

When I heard about the Woolly Pocket Garden, a garden that could be hung on a fence, I thought it would be perfect for my school.  We have lots of fence space.  I personally am very interested in organic gardening, nutrition and the environment and want to share these interests with my students. I do also see a need for my students to learn about health and nutrition.  I think the experience of planting and raising a garden would be most enlightening and beneficial for my students.

The kids at Angel’s Gate High School NEED YOUR HELP! Vote today and everyday in June for Woolly School Gardens on Pepsi’s Refresh Everything Website!

To vote, click on the above image or visit WoollySchoolGarden.org for a direct link to the voting page! And Please Spread the Word! Thanks for your support!

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