Kman learned the perfect way to mix charity and gardening: just add water. The 2018 graduate spent all four years at St. Ignatius working with the HydroCats, the school’s hydroponics club. The group has been designing innovative green systems since 2013, growing crops that they then donate to the West Side Catholic Center. For Kman, this combination of science and philanthropy will stay with him as he heads off to the University of Notre Dame.
When I first heard about the HydroCats, the word “hydroponics” jumped off the page. It’s not a word you often see and it appealed to my science-y brain.
After joining, I was suddenly surrounded by a small group of passionate individuals dedicated to water conservation and growing plants in a different way.
Participating in service and doing good are the core values of St. Ignatius, and that applied just as much to the HydroCats as it did to everything else happening at school. It was incredible to not only build sustainable systems and solve problems, but to also donate the results of our work to people in need.
My first time bringing our crops over to the West Side Catholic Center was in my first year of high school. It was a little scary. What if they didn’t want the food? What if they wouldn’t take our lettuce and tomatoes?
My fears went away as soon as we got there. We walked into the kitchen and everyone working there had these huge smiles, gladly accepting what we brought with us.
I instantly felt humbled that I could give back to the community through plants that we grew with our own hands. I wish every high school student could experience that feeling. — as told to Ken Schneck