By Paul Thompson

Northeast News

April 20, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – It’s just days after the Kansas City Chiefs have begun voluntary off-season workouts, and longtime punter Dustin Colquitt is already building up a sweat.

He’s not in the weight room, though; instead, Colquitt has joined 5th grade students from Scuola Vita Nuova (535 Garfield) in the Historic Northeast to get his hands dirty in the school’s garden. Colquitt isn’t alone either; he’s flanked by Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos and long snapper James Winchester, who are working alongside him on a warm April 19 afternoon as part of SVN’s early celebration of Earth Day, which is recognized annually on April 22.

Colquitt, who recalled picking okra in Tennessee during his own youth, described why it was important for the Chiefs to support the work being done by SVN students.

“A big word today is sustainability; teaching them to plant something, not just go to the store,” said Colquitt. “It’s fun getting out here, getting dirty, sweating a little bit, and showing kids that vegetables are not only delicious, but they’re sustainable.”

Vegetables that have been planted in the school garden at SVN include lettuce, kale, broccoli, snap peas, and green onions. Students in Suzanne Whitt’s 5th-grade class have spent bi-weekly afternoons working in the garden with the help of a garden sponsor.

“Our garden sponsor comes in every two weeks and does a mini-lesson, kind of, out here in the garden,” said Whitt. “They’ve learned about thinning, they’ve talked about spring vegetables, talked about the benefits of that greenhouse down there.”

Whitt added that her students were beyond excited to find out that Kansas City Chiefs players were coming to SVN to help them work on their garden.

“They were pretty excited. They’re huge soccer fans, so I wasn’t sure if football would be a big draw, but it was huge,” said Whitt. “As soon as I said it, they were like, ‘No way!'”

After working in the garden, the Chiefs special teams players spent some time playing soccer with SVN students. Colquitt said afterwards that he hoped the kids would appreciate the hard work and dedication that goes into planting and harvesting a garden.

“It’s fun to see the process,” said Colquitt. “I think at the end of the day, they’ll respect how long it does take.”

In addition to the planting, SVN students also celebrated Earth Day by drawing chalk art right on the sidewalks outside of the school. Check out some photos of the impressive artwork below.