The Schuler Program equips bright, motivated youth with the support they need to gain access to and succeed at highly selective colleges and beyond. Writing from thirteen schools located in the greater Chicago area in Lake and Cook Counties of Illinois, scholars reflect on their academic experiences, cultural exposures, college applications processes, and more.
Carolyn and Delanie at the Collins Academy Schuler office
"Through the Schuler Scholar Program, we can say that we have had the best opportunities ever." - Carolyn Coulter
This summer Carolyn Coulter, Levelle Arnold, and Delanie McCoy (class
of 2016) worked for After School Matters with Urban Garden and Designers. We were made aware
of this program by the Collins Schuler Staff, who also helped us apply to this
partner apprenticeship between The Green Youth Farm, the Chicago Botanic
Gardens, and After School Matters.
In this apprenticeship, we learned the true
definition of urban gardening by learning about what it takes to grow a
sustainable garden of edible plants, flowers, and vegetables using only natural
products in an urban setting. Part of
our education was done through visits to places like
the Chicago Botanic Gardens, The Plant, Uncommon Grounds, and Chicago Center
for Technology. At these places, we were
taught about the different methods of growing crops organically. A few of the
specific methods we learned were crop partnering, which is the practice of
growing specific crops together that are known to grow well together, and the
practice of using organic dish-washing liquid to control pests.
Using the methods and techniques we learned from visiting these other
gardens and sustainable sites, we were able to grow our own tomatoes, kale,
stevia, mint, lavender, marigolds and more. We then were able to take the crops
we grew and use them to make our own salsas, salads, and fruit salads which
were very good.
While working with Urban Garden and Designers we also had the
opportunity to learn about garden design.
We actually designed a rooftop garden for Gallery 37, an arts center located
in downtown Chicago, using many of the things that we had noticed about the
designs of the gardens we visited as inspiration. There were four design teams
with four members in each team. Each member of every team was responsible for a
design element for their rooftop design. This gave each member a chance to put
their own style and personality into the team design. It really made each
design stand out from one another. We spent seven weeks designing, learning,
and growing and at the end of seven weeks we had the opportunity to present our
design ideas to the donors of this project, who will choose the winning design
During this experience we learned that we could find
something as small as gardening enjoyable.
Getting this opportunity to work with other high school kids from
around the city has been a great experience; we really enjoyed learning, experiencing
new things and meeting new friends.
We look forward to the fall season of the ASM Urban Garden
Scientists and Designers! We haven’t heard which team design has won yet,
but regardless, we wouldn’t change anything about our summer.
Carolyn Coulter and Delanie McCoy are members of the Collins Academy High School Class of 2016.