Thursday, June 12, 2014
As a member of the Summerville Chamber Workforce Development Committee, I had the humbling opportunity to hear about the phenomenal grass roots program at ARHS. I attended the meeting somewhat skeptical of why the group’s guest speaker was an athletic director but quickly learned that was just one of the many hats Bobby Behr wears and his real passion is teaching kids the value of gardening and healthy eating lifestyles and as a result, serving as a role model for many students at ARHS — from ISS students, special needs students and now a high school horticulture program.
He started with a simple goal of wanting to help address the escalating problem of childhood obesity and the direct correlation of decreased farming and gardening. When asking young children where do tomatoes comes from, it was upsetting to hear “Bi-Lo or Piggly Wiggly.”
Bobby’s concept embraces hard work and hands-on experiences for the students. These are real world experiences youth today need to learn to be career and college ready. The cafeteria cooks and serves all the vegetables to the kids and vegetable sales increased over 500 percent — a remarkable feat among teenagers! There is plenty of room in Summerville for the local nurseries and ARHS horticulture program to coexist; but I argue that ARHS contributions to society far outweigh the taxes paid by the local nurseries.
I assume that Terry Ryan has not toured ARHS’s special program and it would serve him well and any others in the community who feel similar and I promise you will come away with an eye opening, heart-warming and the utmost respect for what Bobby has accomplished thus far. His dreams are wide and the students of ARHS have a great leader among them and an outstanding role model.