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Weighty project for fourth grader

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Zahriana Bencomo, 9, poses with the 12-pound, 14-ounce cabbage she grew for a summer project initiated in May by Missouri Avenue Elementary School teacher Angie Ramirez. Zahriana is starting fourth grade this week. Lucero, 5, is entering Missouri Avenue for her first year at the school. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Zahriana Bencomo said she learned a lot during her three-month project to grow a 12-pound, 14-ounce cabbage.

“I learned that a cabbage has three stages,” said the 9 year old, who enters fourth grade at Missouri Avenue Elementary School this week, “sprout, almost cabbage and really big cabbage.”
She also found out that it takes a lot of effort and discipline to nurture a growing plant. She worked with her grandfather to dig the hole in the backyard of her southwest-side home for the tiny spout given to her at the end of school by her teacher, and she fertilized the soil, fed the cabbage and woke early every morning for about 12 weeks to water, spraying again later in the day. Then she harvested her cabbage in early August.
Daughter of America Bencomo, Zahriana Bencomo was one of the students in Angie Ramirez’s third-grade class to participate in the Bonnie Plants Third-Grade Cabbage Program, which provides the free plants to classrooms. Teachers can choose to select one student as “best of class,” with that student becoming part of a statewide drawing for a $1,000 scholarship.

“I would like to say how proud we are of Zahriana and her accomplishment here at Missouri Avenue,” said Principal Kirk DeSoto. “Her hard work and dedication has paid off.”
Students don’t return to class until Thursday, so it isn’t known at this time whether the third-grade class will submit a name for the scholarship drawing.
According to a Bonnie Plants website, the Third-Grade Cabbage Program has been offered since 1996 as a way to teach students about agriculture, the food supply and nature, while also instilling lessons about responsibility and accomplishment.
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Senior writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.