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By Eric Heinz 

A new sensory garden for students with special needs is now available for classes to utilize. The garden gives students in the San Clemente High School’s STEPS program an opportunity to learn more about gardening and biology involved with plants.

For their work on the project, Kayleigh Cassidy, a sophomore at San Clemente High School, received her Gold Award from the Girl Scouts of the USA, and Lucas Demchik received his Eagle Scout award from the Boy Scouts of America.

Photo Gallery

San Clemente High School sophomore Kayleigh Cassidy, right, received her Gold Award from the Girl Scouts of the USA, and Lucas Demchik received his Eagle Scout honor from the Boy Scouts of America for their work on the SCHS sensory garden. Photo: Eric Heinz

A reception was held at the high school on Dec. 8 for the grand opening of the garden.

“Without all of our volunteers, without all of the people who have given us time and supplies and money, we wouldn’t have gotten as far as we did,” Cassidy said. “When I first saw the garden, I came to volunteer and pull weeds. I’m really excited how far we’ve come.”

The garden is now wheelchair-accessible and includes crops such as strawberries, kale, four different fruit trees, an herb garden and a butterfly garden.

Joyce Poisson is the artist who made the mural that encompasses the garden, which is about 50 feet by 20 feet.

“I still get teary-eyed when I go in,” said Jamie Finnsson, the STEPS program teacher. “It’s a dream come true for us.”

The STEPS program will use the garden seasonally for classes.

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