Tree-Planting Honors Late Teacher, Gang-Resistance Training
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — Several eighth-grade students at Chaparral Middle School marked the end of 13 weeks of gang-resistance training by planting two new pear trees in the front lawn of their school.
Nearly three dozen students helped to plant the trees, which were donated to the school by Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Las Cruces.
Both trees were planted outside the classroom where Kathleen Higgins hosted the Gang Resistance Education and Training (GREAT) program in her class since 2005. Higgins died in 2011.
GREAT is taught annually at several area schools by personnel from the Doña Ana County Sheriff’s Department. The program engages students in several character-building strategies that help them deal with stressful adolescent situations, like gang involvement or drug activity among peers in their schools and neighborhoods.