From Holy Trinity Catholic School
On July 20, 2022, the 63rd anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, students at Holy Trinity Catholic School in Altoona commemorated and honored that first planting of the American flag on the surface of the Moon by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren.
Siblings Evie and Estella Koch recently returned from their weeklong adventure at NASA’s Space Camp 2022 in Huntsville, Alabama.
These young space enthusiasts planted a life-size replica of the ‘Moon flag’ right next to the actual full-size NASA Apollo training capsule that Holy Trinity Catholic School currently has displayed on its front lawn.
That capsule had been lost to history behind a barn in Chenango County for more than 40 years.
In 2021, the Koch sisters helped salvage it and get it to the school “for the benefit of all mankind.”
The Koch sisters used that prestigious date – July 20th – and the flag-planting event at the school to announce Holy Trinity’s newest and most far-reaching humanitarian endeavor – The Liberty Gardens Project.
The teachers and administrators at Holy Trinity have embarked on a brilliant way to bring attention to the ongoing plight of Ukrainian schoolkids and to actually help those kids get the things they need to survive, learn, and thrive in an actual warzone.
Holy Trinity administrators are working with educators in New Hampshire and New York to acquire seeds, and then grow their own ‘Ukrainian vegetables’ from Dmitry, the owner of a seed company near Kyiv.
The students have planned out a 50-foot by 50-foot garden space near the Apollo capsule on school grounds. They will construct a “Ukrainian-style garden fence” around the site and work the soil this fall semester.
The packages of seeds will soon arrive in a box from the Kyiv seed dealer, and the students will need to find a way to interpret the directions on each package. All the directions are written in the Ukrainian alphabet.
Ukrainian-style black tomatoes, purple “green beans,” grey pumpkins, and some vegetables that are not even recognizable will be grown by the students this spring semester.
Throughout the project, Holy Trinity students will attempt to maintain communication with students in Ukraine, using the internet – and maybe even through Zoom.
The resulting baskets of produce will be sold at Altoona farmers markets next spring and summer.
Students and their parents will staff the Liberty Gardens booth and any and all proceeds will be donated to Ukrainian schoolkids.
Anyone interested in assisting in the Liberty Gardens Project should contact Elaine Spencer at Holy Trinity Catholic School in Altoona.
Volunteer gardeners (weeders and waterers) will be needed, and folks who might be able to read directions in Cyrillic will be quite valuable to these young humanitarian gardeners who are just trying to cultivate a better, more-peaceful world.
[Photo: Siblings Evie and Estella Koch.]