Cashman Stahler Group
On Oct. 21, members of the Board of Education approved the construction of a greenhouse on one of the school’s rooftop spaces.
The greenhouse is a partnership with the Educational Foundation and the Troglia family to honor their daughter, Sofi, who passed away from a medical emergency in December 2017.
Sofi Troglia was a student in the school’s Educational Life Skills program and was greatly missed upon her passing.
Donations from the community were so generous that the district, along with the Troglia family, knew they wanted to create a memorial project to encapsulate her energy.
Sofi’s sister, senior Bella Troglia, described the brainstorming stage between her family, ELS staff members, and the Educational Foundation, as to how to best use the memorial funds that had been raised,
“The principal, NT Educational Foundation, as well as ELS staff met with my mom to give her the suggestions and the greenhouse sounded like the best fit. It made her think of Sofi and how she loved going to the community garden in Glencoe with her class,” said Troglia.
Troglia recalls how Sofi loved the outdoors, and how she often stopped to smell flowers or jump in leaves while walking the family dog.
Not only will the greenhouse turn tragedy into a tangible space of light and growth, but both the Troglias and ELS staff alike are excited for the practical learning opportunities it will provide.
The greenhouse is estimated to be around 300 square feet and will be around 10 percent of the south green rooftop.
Special education teachers hope that the greenhouse will be an inclusive space for ELS students to develop academic, vocational, as well as social-emotional skills.
The greenhouse is expected to be an extension of the school’s well supported ELS program, and everyone in the New Trier community is encouraged to visit upon construction,
“The idea of the greenhouse is to help ELS students both with educational curriculum and vocational training but also to involve typically developing peers,”explained Bella Troglia,
“If the ELS students grow flowers or herbs, maybe a science class can help them; if they want to sell the flowers an art class could makepotsforthemtoselltheflowers in and a business class could be in charge of marketing or sales. Ideally this greenhouse would involve all students at New Trier,” Troglia added.
The project was presented to Superintendent Paul Sally as costing around $300,000.
While the Educational Foundation Board approved a commitment of $100,000 in September of this year, support through donations is still needed to equip the structure with the materials needed as well as accommodations such as wheelchair ramps.
Students and parents can donate through the Educational Foundation in $100-$1000 increments through the foundation’s website or links found on student Instagram bios.
Executive Director of the NT Educational Foundation, Liz Mayer, is equally as enthusiastic as Troglia.
“The Foundation is excited about the opportunity to build relationships with students in new and exciting ways. The project is truly a partnership between the Foundation, students, and the District. We see this as a model for projects in the future that combines all of our talents, creativity, and innovative capabilities,” stated Mayer.
Construction will begin this summer and the greenhouse should be complete by the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year.