NewsWatauga County Schools

Bethel Students harvest sunflower seeds for next year’s garden

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Last Updated on September 27, 2022 11:29 am

BETHEL — Sixth Grade students in Chelsie Eldreth’s Career and Technical Education class at Bethel School have just completed a project to harvest sunflower seeds that will be replanted next year in raised beds around the school.

Eldreth, who teaches CTE classes at Bethel and Valle Crucis Schools, said the project is part of the group’s larger course of study on agriculture and gardening. She said that harvesting the sunflower seeds is a small part of a wealth of opportunities over the school year that her students have to get hands-on experience with every aspect of the planting, growing and harvesting process.

Bethel School’s garden joins a list of several around the county that are planted and tended each year by middle school CTE students


Eldreth is one of four teachers in Watauga County Schools who teaches agriculture classes at the middle school level. The district added the middle school agriculture program in 2019 and has seen growth in its scale and enrollment.

“We really prioritize being able to provide our students with as many choices as possible in their exploratory classes, and we’ve been so pleased with the response that our agriculture and other CTE courses have gotten at the middle school level,” said Watauga County Schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Elliott. “We've been delighted to see how many students want to take part in middle school CTE, and we are proud to have a passionate, dedicated core of teachers leading them.”

Eldreth said her students were looking forward to exploring a wide range of projects in their CTE classes in the coming year, including architectural projects, making floor plans for home designs, creating solar cars and simple machines, gardening, and coding.

Bethel Sixth-grader Dylan Williams collects sunflower seeds.
Bethel Sixth-grader Allison Watson collects sunflower seeds for replanting at the school next year.
Many hands make short work in Chelsie Eldreth’s CTE class at Bethel School.
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