Two Students Help With Harps Nutritional Program

By Ross Metcalf

Consumers would not expect to walk into a supermarket to be greeted by students assisting them to shop for nutritious products. However, several Future School students volunteered at Harps to help with their nutritional assistance program on March 15.

There were four stations around the store based on the food groups: fruits and vegetables, meat and protein, dairy, and grain. The program informed consumers what they should look for when shopping, and misleading information that may be printed on packaging. At the end of the program, participants would be rewarded with a $10 Harps gift card. The gift card’s purpose was to incentivize consumers to eat healthier.

Future School students America Cruz and Yoselin Cardenas helped with the program by creating a brochure explaining the nutritional differences between canned food and fresh food. The brochure warns of the dangers of canned food. For instance, there are children who have developed allergies to canned food. In addition, the brochure included recipes.

Cruz and Cardenas became involved with the Harps nutritional program from their mentor, Charlotte Tidwell, a retired nurse who sacrifices her time and money to help feed those in need in Fort Smith. Tidwell was asked to help with the project and had the two develop a brochure.

Cruz met Tidwell through his sister who needed community hours for college. Cruz’s and Cardenas’ internship comprises of a variety of task such as helping out at the community garden, event planning, and participating in such events. On normal days, the two make sacks of food for those in need.

“I have never seen how much poverty there is until now,” Cardenas said.

“She does a lot for the community. I can learn from her and make a difference in our community,” Cruz said about interning with Tidwell. “We are always doing something different week. I do not enjoy doing the same task every day. The internship also allows me to meet new people.”

Students Volunteer as Pages at the House of Representitives

By Ross Metcalf

Running around on the floor of the House of Representatives to deliver notes to Representatives may not seem appealing to many students, but it was for several Fort Smith students.

On March 28th, nine students from Future School of Fort Smith volunteered as pages at the Arkansas House of Representatives in Little Rock. Rep. Matthew Pitch, R-Fort Smith, sponsored the students to volunteer as pages. The students traveled with former Judge Jim Spears on the trip.

“I am intrigued in how the government works. I wanted to experience it first hand,” student Grace Hosier said about volunteering as a page.

During the session, the students acted as pages on the floor of the House of Representatives. The students would run notes between representatives on the floor or help them with other tasks the representatives needed. While that was their main task, the students were able to pay attention to bills up for votes.

“I thought there would be a whole lot of arguing and be really rambunctious, but it was the opposite,” Latayvia Shade said.

“It was interesting to see how fast the session was going. I thought it took a long time,” Hosier said about her experience on the floor. “It was chaotic organization.”

Running notes to different representatives was not all that the students did that day. The students were given a tour of the capitol building. Brandon Skiles visited the treasury where he was given the opportunity to hold $400,000.

“We were nervous to be on the floor as pages. However, after the experience we wanted to do it again,” Skiles said.

Two Students Create Hydroponics Lab

by Ross Metcalf

Joshua “Josh” Johnson and Myshael Brown, the founders of the hydroponics lab at Future School, gave insight on the challenges they had to face and their plans for the hydroponics lab. Hydroponics is the growing of plants without soil. Hydroponics use liquid nutrient solutions in water instead of nutrients in soil. Hydroponics have existed since the pyramids of Egypt. One of the earliest civilizations to use hydroponics were the Aztecs who used floating rafts on lakes. Today, hydroponics use water tanks, pipes, and other materials such as buckets.

Since October, Johnson and Brown began working on the hydroponics lab. Recently, they began working in the rock building at the school. They have to go through meetings, create plans for hydroponic systems, and find designated areas to start growing in order for the hydroponics lab to continue. Many of the materials for the hydroponics lab were donated by Patrick Boze.

“It was pretty generous. Those materials are expensive,” Johnson said.

While the requirements to set up the hydroponics lab was “mainly getting the gear,” there were other challenging requirements.

“We had to prove we were responsible,” Brown said.

To do this, they had to present plans to their mentor, Paul, and to the faculty for hydroponic systems. Because of the limited space the two have, getting permission from the fire marshall is one of their toughest challenges.

The hydroponics lab started in October for an exhibition project. While it started out as an idea for a science project from Boyd, the principal of Future School, it later became a project for Johnson and Brown’s mentorship. Their reasons for beginning the project differ.

“The offer came up and I had no internship. I have always enjoyed hydroponics and growing plants indoors. It is an interesting process,” Johnson explained.

“I want to get into the STEM field. For my internship I tried to get into the med field. However, this deals with biology. It lets me get a foot in,” Brown said.

One of their ideas for the hydroponics lab is to build a hydroponics system with a vending machine. Future School was built at the abandoned girl’s club downtown. The girl’s club left several desks, chairs, a piano, and a vending machine. Brown came up with the idea for using the vending machine for a hydroponics system.

“It is the art aspect of the hydroponics lab,” Johnson said.

“Aesthetic is nice,” Brown added.

One of Johnson and Brown’s goals is to create a hydroponics club. To create the hydroponics club, Brown and Johnson need a designated place to grow.

“We want a club where people can learn more about hydroponics labs,” Johnson said.

“Anyone who has an interest, we can educate them,” Brown said.

“We want more people to help," Johnson said.