Students with special needs keep working invisibly and solar-fueled backyard at Plant High School

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TAMPA, Fla. — Martin Ramirez likes to receive his hands dirty.

“This is all about teamwork,” states Martin, because he assesses a pepper plant to get insects. “That’s the best part!”

The Plant High School junior is participate in an innovative program in the Tampa school that is introducing pupils with particular needs to potential career paths.

It’s a functioning garden directly in the center of campus. It includes both floor and hydroponic plantings, and uses renewable and solar energy resources.

“The whole point of having this garden is to give these kids some hands-on experience that will hopefully translate to the workforce,” states Jessica Strauss, the Plant High instructor behind the thriving program.

Local nonprofit Tampa Urban Benefits (TUB) Farms is partnering with the faculty to present the pupils into such varied career paths including farming, gardening, botany, finance, engineering and community enrichment.

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