Tyler and Emma Randal, Saint Dominic Academy students. Submitted photo

AUBURN — In celebration of the creation of the St. Francis Garden at Saint Dominic Academy, all are invited to visit the garden on St. Dom’s Auburn Campus, 121 Gracelawn Road, for a special gathering from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9.

“Attendees can enjoy a Caprese salad with fresh basil and tomatoes from the garden and mozzarella made by St. Dom’s students,” said Fr. Seamus Griesbach, chaplain at the academy. “Social distancing will be observed, of course.”

The garden represents a working, growing and succeeding environment, an extension of the values the academy teaches. The project has been a service and learning initiative carried out by students, staff, parents, alumni and others connected to St. Dom’s in order to share the joy and produce of vegetable gardening with the school family and the larger community.

“So many people donated seeds, plants, materials and the free time to this project,” said Griesbach. “It is greatly appreciated.”

The work has turned an untended dirt patch into a flourishing garden in just a few months. The idea of teaching the students the beauty of planting and gardening sprung from the distance learning that began in early March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Some days we struggled to find ways to connect with students and teachers,” said Griesbach. “Working on the garden seemed like a safe way to do that. It’s great to see everyone contribute to the effort.”

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