AUBURN — The odds have grown for Edward Little High School’s greenhouse program winning a grant, thanks to robust online voting from the community.

High school science teacher Kim Finnerty’s “Seeds of Change” grant application made it to the top 50 nationally, Finnerty said Tuesday.

“I cannot believe it!” Finnerty said. “The community really rallied; the kids did a great job voting. I can’t thank the community enough. You gotta love social media.”

Finnerty teaches a chemistry class this year through a hands-on pilot course involving agriculture. She applied for a “Seeds of Change” grant to expand her program to elementary students.

Nationwide, 987 schools applied for the seed company’s grant program, Finnerty said. The schools with the top 50 online votes progressed to the second phase. Judges will now decide which of the top 50 grant applications hold the most merit.

There will be 17 winners, two top prizes of $20,000 each, and 15 grants of $10,000 each.

If she wins, the money will be used to add more high school and elementary students to the “Garden Buddies” program, Finnerty said.

Once a month, her high school students work with 100 Park Avenue Elementary School students on gardening and agriculture. The hope is to expand “Garden Buddies” to Fairview Elementary next year.

This year, Finnerty has one agriculture class; next year she could have four. Superintendent Katy Grondin said the program is popular with high school students, and more have asked to take the agriculture/chemistry class, which is being expanded.

“Seeds of Change” grant winners will be announced May 5.

To read the Nov. 22 story about “Garden Buddies,” go to:

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