Our Lady of the Lake students sell seeds to help sister school in Nicaragua

  • Written by Nathan Whalen
  • Published in Local
Fourth-graders Margo Nugent and Brody Bicksler display some of the illustrations their Our Lady of the Lake classmates created to promote the school’s annual seed sale, which benefited their sister school in Nicaragua and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Photo: Margaret Portelance Fourth-graders Margo Nugent and Brody Bicksler display some of the illustrations their Our Lady of the Lake classmates created to promote the school’s annual seed sale, which benefited their sister school in Nicaragua and Seattle Children’s Hospital. Photo: Margaret Portelance

SEATTLE – Students at Our Lady of the Lake School sold seeds again this year to help pay for a construction project at their sister school in San Sebastian de Yali, Nicaragua.

“It’s showing solidarity with people in Nicaragua and it’s close to the earth,” said Father Tim Clark, pastor of Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Seattle’s Wedgwood neighborhood.

Students sold $1,500 worth of seed packets (at $2 apiece) — an increase over last year’s sale that raised nearly $900. Now they are busy filling orders by making seed packets with illustrations of the plants fully grown.

This year, “we raised half [the money] for a school in Nicaragua and the other half is going to [Seattle] Children’s Hospital,” said fourth-grader Brody Bicksler. Last year’s proceeds were split between the sister school and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul conference at OLL.

The seeds, recently blessed by Father Clark, come from the nonprofit Seed Saver’s Exchange, which provides heirloom, untreated, non-hybrid, non-GMO seeds. The most popular seed sold this year was the “Bee’s Friend Flower.”

The annual fundraiser is the latest chapter in a relationship with Reverendo Miguel Angel School in Nicaragua that began about 2010, Father Clark said.

“It gives us another connection to people outside the country,” said Margaret Portelance, a fourth-grade teacher at OLL. And the relationship teaches students the importance of becoming global citizens, she noted.

Students at both schools stay in contact by exchanging videos and photographs via a smartphone app. They’ve been planning on a live conversation, but several attempts haven’t been successful.

When they do make contact, “I kinda want to ask what their schedule looks like,” fourth-grader Cece Clair said. Classmate Margo Nugent said she wants to know how students in Nicaragua get to school.

OLL Seed SaleStudents at Reverendo Miguel Angel School in Nicaragua received photos and drawings of peers at their sister school, Our Lady of the Lake in Seattle. OLL students sold seeds again this year to benefit their sister school. Photo: Courtesy Margaret Portelance

Keyla Rivera, a teacher in San Sebastian de Yali, visited Our Lady of the Lake in January. She taught the students some Spanish and told them about the culture in Nicaragua. The students gave Rivera some seeds to plant in her school’s garden.

Our Lady of the Lake also has a school garden, tended by fourth-graders. The garden has produced vegetables for nine years, and the harvest benefits the school kitchen for its Thursday hot lunch and salad bar. Harvested produce is also donated to the University District Food Bank; sometimes students take vegetables home.

When Father Clark became OLL’s pastor in 2004, he wanted to find a sister parish in Latin America because of the Latino community’s presence in the Puget Sound area.

“I wanted it to be more of a rapport,” he said. “They have a lot to give us.”

The Nicaraguan connections were made through an OLL parishioner who once lived in San Sebastian de Yali, Father Clark explained. About 2012, the community’s parish priest, Father Sandino, visited OLL, and Father Clark presented him with a monstrance from OLL’s first church, built in 1929.

To further connect the parishes, an icon of St. Sebastian with votive candles has been hung inside Our Lady of the Lake Church. Father Clark commissioned the icon, which was funded with the help of an anonymous donor.

Father Clark said he would enjoy seeing more visitors from Nicaragua come to OLL. “It would be wonderful to have the children come here,” he said.