For a group of Avalon Intermediate School pupils, tending to their own vegetable garden led to a trip to the big city, down the red carpet and up the Sky Tower.
The decile-2 school's Kaitiaki Whenua gardening group won the teamwork award at the Outlook for Someday film competition last week for their music video, I Grow a Garden.
The original song encourages people to start their own vegetable garden because "it's simple, and good for the atmosphere".
The group of about nine pupils meets every Thursday to tend to the school's vegetable patch, which yields potatoes, garlic, corn, courgettes, broad beans and rhubarb.
Art teacher Sue McKee, who leads the group, says the project is popular with pupils.
"The purpose of it is getting kids more in touch with where their food comes from and teaching them respect for their environment. I've never seen kids so excited about leeks."
Anna Trethewey, 13, has been part of the group since last year, and says she finds eating produce she has grown herself rewarding. "I like bringing home all the food."
Miss McKee suggested the group enter the Outlook for Someday challenge because "it was winter, so there wasn't much to do in the garden - and sometimes the kids can get a bit over weeding".
ICT teacher Paascalino Schaller, 23, led the group in putting together their video, which is about the benefits of growing one's own produce.
"We wanted to make people feel like it's something they want to be part of."
He says the win has helped boost the profile of the gardening group within the school, with the entire group flying to Auckland to attend the red carpet prizegiving at Aotea Square last week.
"Some of the team had never been in a plane before. Now they are like the rock stars of Avalon Intermediate."
Anna says she was thrilled to go to the big city, "somewhere I'd never been before".
"I was happy we won, but at first only one student and one teacher was going to get to go, and my mum told me not to get my hopes up. When I found out we were all going, I was like, 'Yay!' "
Joseph Wijnstok, 12, agrees.
"It's just so amazing that we all got to go up to Auckland, but I'm never going up the Sky Tower again.
"When the colour drains from someone's face, you know it's a bad idea."
- The Dominion Post
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