What do you get when you combine a garden, goats, a greenhouse and school kids? Dirty hands and engaged learners, according to a news release.


What do you get when you combine a garden, goats, a
greenhouse and school kids? Dirty hands and engaged learners,
according to a news release.

For three years, the elementary school in Walton has been open as
Walton 21st Century Rural Life Center. Using initial charter funds,
donations from local businesses and income from fund-raisers, the
school staff members, with help from parents and an advisory council,
have coordinated the construction of a chicken house, greenhouse, wind
turbine and barn on the site of this kindergarten through fourth-grade
elementary school with about 130 students.

Teachers use projects in the greenhouse and garden, animal chores and
the wind turbine to teach daily lessons that meet school curriculum
requirements. Many hands-on learning experiences are made possible by
the charter school program.

Initial charter funds no longer are available. In order to continue,
many of the programs under way at the school, funds need to be raised
above the general school budget.

On June 5, a fund-raising concert and dinner will be at the school.
Larry Thompson and the Big Buckle Band will perform traditional
country and classic rock from 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Band members include Larry Thompson of Newton on lead vocals and
rhythm guitar, Evan LaRue of Newton on bass guitar and vocals, Bob
Bales of Wichita on lead guitar and vocals, Newton firefighter Chris
Anderson on drums, Steve McClure of Augusta, who formerly played steel
guitar for Garth Brooks, and Jim Brennan of Wichita on fiddle,
harmonica, mandolin and vocals.

Lauren Thompson, 9, will sing with the band. She and the other members
of the band have been performing together for the past five years.

Larry Thompson and the Big Buckle Band have played at venues all
across Kansas. They have had the opportunity to open for such
performers as John Michael Montgomery, Aaron Tippin and Shelly Wright.
Several members of the band have played together with other bands for
more than 10 years.

A barbecue dinner will be served from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The menu will
feature food items made from locally grown products. Beef and flour
from Janzen Family Farms near Elbing will be used for the hamburgers,
and dessert will be homemade pies. Audience members should bring lawn
chairs and picnic blankets.

Tickets are $10 each and include the dinner and admission to the
concert. Tickets are available prior to the concert at Walton Rural
Life Center.

Funds from the concert and dinner will go towards field trips to local
farms and general support of the programs of this agricultural-based
charter school.

Event sponsors include Walton State Bank; Drs. Grant, McKinney &
Simmonds; Freedom Computers; First Bank of Newton; The Citizens State
Bank; Axtell Clinic; Dr. Terry Davidson, DDS; Harvest Greenhouse;
Clayworks Gallery; Gina’s Hair Studio; and The Tanning Gallery.
For more information, call Walton Rural Life Elementary at (866) 837-3161.