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Fresh Food for the Cafeteria Made By Students

Madalyn Harr, Editor-in-Chief

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Driving past the West Salem Middle School might give residents the impression that the only changes happening in the district are happening there. However, the high school is still a place of change. One of the most recent is the aquaponics system now in the greenhouse. Now you might be asking yourself what is aquaponics?

Aquaponics is the system of fish farming and growing vegetables at the same time.

The head of the aquaponics system, Kelly Rueckheim, a teacher at West Salem High School worked diligently all summer to have it prepared for this school year. Rueckheim, who was hired at West Salem High School last year, was gladly thrown into setting up the aquaponics. “I like to learn new things, and like to take on new challenges,” says Ruckheim.

For the high school to switch from greenhouse to aquaponics was such a challenge. Students last year in the greenhouse dug out dirt and removed everything. Aquaponic systems have no dirt whatsoever; therefore making the transition even harder. Once that was complete, it was onto setting up the system.

The new system is not just a learning for Rueckheim, it’s also a learning opportunity for students. Currently there are two classes of aquaponics in this semester. In the classes they learn how to feed fish, measure pH level, and much more. “This is a wonderful learning opportunity for students because it teaches how to raise fish, grow food, and also the science and chemistry behind aquaponics,” says Mike Malott, West Salem High School’s principal.

Both Malott and Rueckheim  mentioned how it would also benefit students who aren’t in the class. They plan on using the fresh products they have grown in the cafeteria.

The aquaponic system will leave a long-lasting effect on West Salem by providing fresh produce and educating students for years to come.

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Fresh Food for the Cafeteria Made By Students