It was one of the most enthusiastic parades ever as the entire student body of UT Elementary School paraded up and down E. Sixth St. on Nov. 30 chanting “You can’t spell community without UT!” and “UT Elementary Garden!” Accompanied by teachers and parents, students carried cut-outs of bees, ladybugs, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and kohlrabi as they marched.
The parade celebrated a recent $100,000 grant from the State Farm Insurance Youth Advisory Board to support the creation of a new community garden that will serve the surrounding East Austin neighborhood. Land for the garden was made possible by the City of Austin and Cap Metro. Students will partner with neighboring businesses, households and local gardening groups to develop and grow the garden as a collaborative service project. And, the school will incorporate enrichment activities into the project that will focus on the areas of STEM, fitness, wellness and multicultural arts studies.
State Farm spokesperson Amelia Folkes said more than 900 applications were received and reviewed by the Youth Advisory Board which includes high school and college students.
At a ceremony following the parade Francisco, a fifth-grade student spoke as well as Dr. Gregory J. Vincent, vice president for diversity and community engagement, City of Austin Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and Folkes.