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Seed to Harvest and Living Lab Gardens
Ben-Hem has two gardens. The Seed to Harvest garden features pickable fruits, vegetables and seeds grown by students and parent volunteers at Ben-Hem. To encourage exploration of the garden, the PTO organizes fun summer socials.
This garden focuses on the basic concepts of planting food-to-table produce. The Living Lab is a resource for teachers to explore plant life, discuss weather, provide reading prompts and give student other in-depth educational experiences in a fun setting.
In 2015, the Natick Education Foundation granted Ben-Hem funds to install a WeatherBug weather station at the school. This system included access for all Natick school teachers to the WeatherBug Achieve education tool.
To find out more, and learn how you can access the weather from Ben-Hem, please visit the Weather Page.
The PTO has added a grant process to help fund the programs and resources that improve the educational experience for students at Bennett-Hemenway Elementary School.
The application is online. Any member(s) of the Bennett-Hemenway community (parent, teacher, staff) who has a need or good idea is eligible to apply for grant funds. Go to the Grant page for more information and to submit an application.
Classroom Science Explorations
The PTO funds a classroom visit, such as aquatic touch tanks, from several certified scientific outreach programs for each grade level.
Bennett-Hemenway Jacquilin Searle Memorial Scholarship
Every year, the Bennett-Hemenway PTO funds a scholarship for Ben-Hem alumni that are graduating from Natick High School. The scholarship is in memory of Jackie Searle who was a 1st grade teacher at Ben-Hem for over 20 years.
Scholarship Application Details
Jackie Searle was a 1st grade teacher at Bennett-Hemenway School for more than twenty years. Her memory is honored with this scholarship. Student applicants must have attended Bennett-Hemenway School, be going on to higher education, and write an essay with the following idea in mind: "Service to others is a value to be celebrated and each one of us can make a difference."
(Previous winners can be viewed on the Past Scholarship Winners page)
2014: Lucia Cavacini, Bobcat class of 2006
2013: Casey Kelly, Bobcat class of 2005
More about Jackie:
Jacquelin (Jackie) Searle was a first grade teacher at Bennett-Hemenway for more than twenty years. She grew up in South Natick and got her teaching degree in Framingham. Jackie was a child of the 60's and was very involved in civil rights. According to Mr. Stuart Peskin, former Ben-Hem principal, Jackie believed that every child has value, and every child is deserving. It is no surprise then that parents loved her.
Current fourth grade teacher, Ms. Cate O'Brien, remembers Jackie as being very kind and gentle. "She taught students how to respect each other," she said.
One thing that stuck out in Ms. O'Brien's memory was that each year Jackie would have students make civil rights signs and march around the school for Martin Luther King day. Mr. Peskin said that he felt her focus on civil rights "made her a better teacher".
One of Jackie's favorite sayings was "It's not a problem, it's a solution that we haven't found yet." Mr. Peskin stated that this was an attitude that was adopted by the entire school, and was (and is still) what makes Bennett-Hemenway such a great place to teach and learn.
Because of the impact that she had on the Bennett-Hemenway community, the school and PTO wanted to ensure she was remembered by all for years to come. If you visit the school library, you will find a memorial containing pictures and articles about Jackie. It sits next to a picture of Mahatma Gandhi, which represents the peaceful nature with which Jackie lead her life and taught her students. In addition, the Diversity Corner and rocking chair in the Bennett-Hemenway library are dedicated in loving memory of (Jackie's) years as an educator ~ teaching, raising our consciousness, and acting as a role model for all.