Fairmont student’s idea sprouts Hallway Harvest

Senior volunteers with enthusiasm.

At Kettering Fairmont High School the Hallway Harvest is growing every year, just like the vegetables in the school’s Unity Garden that make up the majority of what’s on the menu. This past Sept. 1 the school held its third annual Hallway Harvest for a select group of school representatives.

“The first year, about 10 faculty members came to the event. This year, we had about 25 staff and five school board members. It was the biggest gathering so far,” said senior Theodore Hale.

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When Hale was a freshman in Ruth Budd’s culinary class, she told the students about the Unity Garden, a set of vegetable garden beds between Fairmont’s Central and East units. The produce is used for cafeteria meals and culinary class recipes. Hale was inspired to contribute. He purchased onion, watermelon and squash seeds at Home Depot the next evening and planted them the day after that.

“About a week later, I suggested the idea of having a special harvest meal with vegetables from the garden. It would celebrate what would hopefully be a successful summer of plant growth, and thank faculty members who work hard to contribute to the garden,” said Hale, now a senior.

The idea was approved. He named it Hallway Harvest because he volunteers as a hallway monitor at school. This year, Hale brought a special Bulgarian salad called Shopska full of tomatoes and cucumbers. There was bean salad, fruit salad, and cole slaw. Pulled-pork sandwiches, chocolate cake, and cookies were also among the many potluck offerings.

Besides the tomatoes and cucumbers, Hale planted potatoes, pumpkin and beets this past summer. He has been planting one bed over the past three years.

“When he sets his mind to something, he sticks with it. Theo is an amazing student who works very hard and is concerned about the welfare of others,” said Budd, family and consumer science educator with 26 years of teaching experience. “It has been a joy to work with Theo. He loves school and has more school spirit than any student here at Fairmont.”

Hale spends one day a week helping out in the main office, running errands and making copies. This past summer, he helped with mass mailings and freshman orientation.

“I like to be able to help out and give back to people. The Golden Rule is to treat others as you wish you would be treated,” said Hale, who won the 2017 Mayor’s Award for Volunteer Service this past May. “It feels good to help out and make someone else feel a little bit better.”

Some volunteer jobs are more fun than others, like when he works with the chain gang during Fairmont football season. One of the benefits is getting a field level view of the game. Since this is his last year at Fairmont, he hopes the annual Hallway Harvest will continue.

“It was a pleasure getting to do it. The event has gained momentum, so I wish someone will volunteer to keep it going next year,” said Hale, whose parents are Joe and Jennifer Hale. He also has a 20-year-old brother, Samuel, an apprentice at IBEW, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

Currently Hale is taking the 10-week Kettering Police Department Citizen’s Academy course.

“My dream job would be to go into corrections, start as a guard, then shift supervisor, security supervisor, and work my way up to warden,” said Hale.

Another possibility would be to work as a teacher in Kettering Fairmont’s Career Technology Center. If he did end up teaching, you can bet he’d inspire his students to embrace volunteer work.

Contact this contributing writer at PamDillon@woh.rr.com.

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