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High school students donate succulents to retirement home

After dedicating a school year to raising succulents, the 4-H students at Blue Mountain High School gifted the plants to a special group of residents.

ORWIGSBURG, Pa. — 4-H students from Blue Mountain High School loaded vans with nearly 100 succulents they've been growing all school year.

Before they leave school for summer, they spent the afternoon delivering the plants from the Schuylkill Haven high school greenhouse to a new home: Seton Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

"We try to incorporate nature into our activity program. That's very important for their psych and social needs to be outdoors. And it gives them the opportunity to take care and nurture a plant," said Kris Schamus, Seton Manor Activity Director.

The Seton Manor residents were blown away by the visit and donation from the high schoolers.

"They smiled when they saw them come in, and seeing them so surprised warmed my heart and hopefully theirs too. So it means a lot because giving to the community and making people happy is something you should enjoy doing," said Aftyn Gattu, a Junior at Blue Mountain.

"It really does make a big impact on their day. Even something as small like giving them these plants really does make them feel so much better," said Tristan Goubeia, Seton Manor Activity Director Assistant. 

Seton Manor resident Donald Mates is looking forward to taking care of his new plant. 

"It's important to see signs of life. This plant growth will be a sign of life. But it's great to see high schoolers come and people from the daycare sing carols to us because that's signs of life. Those signs of life help us out psychologically because a lot of people get depressed," said Mates.

And the plants are a constant reminder that these elderly residents are not forgotten by the young adults in the area.

"It means a lot because you see them smile, especially after everything they said they went through with Covid. So they finally have something good happen and smile for maybe the first time in a couple weeks,” said Sammi Straouse, a Sophomore at Blue Mountain. 

Blue Mountain's 4-H plans to do even more for the community next school year.

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