Ad Spot

CMS garden will grow educational opportunities

By SASHA JOHNS / Community Columnist

Olivia Snyder is in her first year of teaching at Columbiana Middle School. As the oldest daughter of Shelby County High School Principal Barbara Snyder and Elvin Hill Elementary paraprofessional John Snyder, she is no stranger to the work and time that educators have to put in. In fact, it was volunteering with her father over the years that helped her decide on her career path as a special needs educator.

“I remember telling my dad that I wished that I could do what he did,” she said, “and he basically reminded me that there was no reason that I couldn’t.”

Columbiana Middle School student Breanna Erwin is one of Olivia Snyder’s students that loves working in the school’s courtyard butterfly garden. (Contributed)

This year that dream came true as she is now the third Snyder to work in the Columbiana school system, by working as the second teacher in the newly expanded Triple-A (Alabama Alabama Assessment) self-contained classroom at CMS.

Snyder said, “So often these kids get looked over, but they are far more capable of doing great things than people think they are.” This became evident when her students were asked if they would like to be responsible for watering the butterfly garden in the courtyard of the school this year.

Snyder’s students loved this tasked and begged for opportunities to work in the garden, but Snyder saw a bigger opportunity. As her students move on from CMS, they will eventually become students of Marisol Lilly’s Working Wildcat program at the high school. The Working Wildcats have become a model school for the H.O.P.E. Garden project, which teaches the older students job and life skills. Snyder realized the butterfly garden was a great opportunity to prepare her students to become Working Wildcats as they left middle school.

The garden requires some work to take advantage of that opportunity, however—a little more than they can do on their own. Snyder has set up a MySchoolBucks.com campaign to raise $1,000 for the supplies they need to clean up and add plantings to the garden and has also organized a cleanup day through Church of the Highlands on Feb. 27 from 3-8 p.m. to prepare the space so that students can begin learning just in time for spring.

Already the kids are learning about butterflies and pollinators through a national STEM program. They started out learning about monarchs, but that has grown to plans for a full program to attract and raise all kinds of butterflies and other beneficial garden bugs. The garden will not only have plantings that attract butterflies but herbs that will also bring other “good critters.”

“Just the planning alone has already given my students a sense of leadership and belonging within the school. They feel a sense of strong ownership already from their work in the space. This project will only feed that,” Snyder shared.

If you would like to contribute to the My School Bucks campaign, just visit MySchoolBucks.com and search for Columbiana Middle School garden project. To volunteer on the cleanup day on Feb. 27, reach out to Olivia Snyder by email at osnyder@shelbyed.org.

280 Reporter

One dead after shooting in Calera

280 Reporter

Shelby County man arrested after leading Tuscaloosa Police on lengthy chase

News

Falcons sweep GSC academic awards for 2021

News

Bassmaster College Series to make stop at Lay Lake

280 Main Story

Double Oak Community Church VBS returns in person

280 Reporter

Nancy ‘Nan’ Abbott remembered as an inspiration to many

280 Reporter

Helena man arrested for allegedly placing camera in neighbor’s bathroom

Montevallo

UM student project adds ‘music wall’ at Child Study Center

280 Main Story

Spain Park’s Widra wins Gatorade Player of the Year award

News

Mobile pantry food distribution planned for Pelham

Columbiana

Columbiana man sentenced to 80 months in prison

280 Main Story

Chelsea’s Butler to compete at USA National Miss

280 Main Story

OHenry’s Coffees opens Mt Laurel location

Calera

Calera Main Street recognized as national affiliate

280 Main Story

Alpha, Mu and Omega: First-recorded Texas Longhorn triplets born at Wilsonville farm

280 Main Story

Red Cross: Blood shortage ‘becoming a little scary’

280 Main Story

Shelby Humane clinic to offer drive-thru vaccine, microchipping

Helena

Former Helena standout Justin Stuckey to compete in Olympic Trials

Montevallo

Montevallo Farmers Market gets patriotic on Flag Day

Helena

Old Town Live returns with ‘Mo-N-Grass’ event

Calera

Calera PD open house reaches out to special needs individuals

Lifestyles

Community health fair promotes positivity on Father’s Day

280 Reporter

Improvements along State Park Road clear out parts of ‘tree tunnel’

Alabaster Main Story

Chubbfathers to open in Bryant-Denny Stadium