Raphael's Students Love Agriculture

In our first post introducing Raphael, we shared how busy he stays managing the agriculture program at St. Paul’s. Not only does he manage the expansive garden at the school, his weekly responsibilities also include teaching an agriculture class to middle schoolers, leading a student garden club, and advising community members at Petit Trou’s local seed bank.

Raphael’s lively year of teaching culminated with the 2nd annual Harvest Festival on June 1. Raphael collaborated with Administrator Guilot Tibert to boost the festival’s offerings. Last year, students sold produce from their garden. This year, the teachers encouraged students to also sell produce they grew at home. Booths were opened up to school groups and faculty who didn’t participate last year, and they implemented a small admission fee to help cover costs. A group of ten visitors from Colorado who were visiting during the fair remarked how fun and impressive it was to learn about this new school tradition.

After the fair, Raphael had two weeks of vacation time from his official duties at St. Paul’s. But his strong work ethic and ambitious professional goals wouldn’t allow him to take a well-deserved rest. Instead, he spent the time finishing up a report on beef processing he was writing for his university degree.  

And, unsurprisingly, he has already begun to make plans for the next academic year. His agriculture program was tailored for middle school students in the past, but word of its popularity has spread to the younger grades! 4th and 5th graders recently told him they couldn’t wait to take his classes, and Raphael told them they wouldn’t have to. He’s keeping his promise by starting a one-hour weekly hands-on class for them (20 minutes in the classroom, and 40 minutes in the garden)!

Stay tuned for more stories from Raphael's agriculture classes this Fall and join us in congratulating him on a remarkable first year of teaching!

Wynn Walent