Martin Di Diego
Address of the Garden: 11901 SW 2nd St, Tamiami, FL 33184
Marjory Stoneman Douglas Elementary School
In the early 20th century, Boca Raton was a new, rural farming land in need of cultural development. In 1917, Alex Hughes held small classes for young residents of the city to take in his own home. Noticing the need for an extensive schooling system, he developed the first African-American school in the city, making him a pioneer in minority education. His development of education in South Florida made him a community leader even to this day; each year, more schools in minority-dominated areas are built. In honor of his work, I have dedicated a garden to him on the land of a school located in a hispanic-oriented community named Marjory Stoneman Douglas. His efforts to offer education to a socially segregated group are reflected in the school I chose because it emphasizes bilingual teaching styles (60% English, 40% Spanish) which connects two seemingly starkly different cultures together to produce a hybrid, well-rounded student, which is what Hughes did. He linked African-Americans with the majority of white Americans living in Florida at the time during the early 20th century -- an extremely difficult task. The school I chose links the hispanic youth to the same majority, and has introduced a new type of community member; Hughes’ important role in developing Florida is exemplified each time a school like Marjory Stoneman Douglas is built in a community where the minority seek equal education that is imperative to their future.