Gerstell Academy students take learning out of the classroom and on to a local farm

FREELAND, Md. - It is 10 in the morning at the First Fruits Farm in Freeland.  Volunteers at the farm grow produce and give it to local food banks in the surrounding area. It's all in an effort to feed the hungry.

Dozens of ninth through 12th grade students from Gerstell Academy have invaded the farm to help feed the hungry.

"I think it is great because we are giving back to the community.  We are really improving it because we are using our time, talents and treasure.  We are showing the principles and attributes that we are learning here at school," said Nicole Scherr, eleventh grader at Gerstell Academy.

"I believe it is a great activity especially for Gerstell because the mission here is just like the mission at Gerstell Academy.  Both organizations want to give back to people that are less fortunate," said Michael Hernandez, eleventh grader at Gerstell Academy.

It is not your typical education for students.  Gerstell Academy is an Independent School located in Carroll County.

The school focuses on developing leaders and maximizing student potential.  Students are learning, not in a classroom, but in the real world at First Fruits Farm.

"If you really think about it. How do we as human beings learn the best?  We learn by doing and frankly classroom time is important.  You have to have that teacher, student interaction, but we believe that leadership is about getting out and doing," said Mary Louque with Gerstell Academy.

First Fruits Farm is a Christian Ministry dedicated to feeding the hungry with nutritious fruits and vegetables.  The farm has over one hundred acres of land dedicated to the project.

Gerstell students picked 25,000 pounds of potatoes.  The help is appreciated.

"I think it is great.  It is wonderful to be around young people.  We could not do the ministry that we do without many helping hands," said Rick Bernstein, President of First Fruits Farm, Inc.

First Fruits Farm distributes food to the Maryland Food Bank, Baltimore Rescue Mission, Manna House and Hereford Food Bank and several more.

Gerstell students volunteer every year.


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