Teacher, students give back through Voices program 

When Learning Resource Teacher Jamie Cato moved to Hampton Roads, she wanted to learn about the area, so she enrolled in the VoiCeS program with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.

“When I moved here in September, I took a 14 hour Chesapeake Bay class,” said Cato. “After the class, you are supposed to do 40 hours of service for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.”

She decided to give back while also helping to teach our Oaks through a mini-water/Chesapeake Bay class to the second and third-grade aftercare students every Friday afternoon.

“The class gives an overview of the Chesapeake Bay, the issues facing it and the importance of water, such as why we need clean water, how to conserve it, ways to help clean the bay, and more,” said Cato.

Their culminating lesson and latest adventure took about 10 students to the school’s storm water pond, which is home to “Larry the Snapper” (Collegiate’s resident snapping turtle), minnows and other critters.

With the help of the students and alumnus Justin Shafer ’99, an environmental engineer with the City of Norfolk, our pond was given the tools it needed to help add filtration and stabilize the edge.

“The purpose of the pond is to clean up the water before it goes out to the rivers,” Shafer told students. To help with the filtration, they planted different varieties of native plants, such as marsh grasses, hibiscus, lizard tail plants and more, which were provided by Shafer as part of a grant.

The plants not only provide homes for fish, grow flowers that help provide pollen and clean the air.

“I didn’t know that the plants help to clean the air,” said second grader Jackson Hall. “I thought they were for decoration.”

“Flowers help the swamp and are not just for decoration,” said chimed in third grader Anya Beachy. “I have a pond at home so we can do this there.”

To learn more about the class and what our students our doing, please contact Jamie Cato at jcato@norfolkcollegiate.org.