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Couple helps students find gardening roots

May 11, 2009|By JANET HEIM

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- Barb and Dick Frame don't mind pulling up roots each spring, knowing it will help high school students in Hagerstown develop roots of their own.

The Frames, who live in Thornton, W.Va., about 30 miles south of Morgantown, are retired teachers. Their son, Steve Frame, teaches the entrepreneurship courses and manages the greenhouse at Washington County Technical High School.

The greenhouse sat unused for more than 20 years, said Barb Frame, 69. She said Jeff Stouffer, principal at WCTHS, feared losing the building if it wasn't put to use.

He asked Steve Frame to come up with a school-based business that could use the space. The greenhouse was reopened, but only after many hours spent building plant racks out of scrap lumber and clearing saplings that had broken through the glass in the roof.

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This is the fifth season the greenhouse has been in business. The Frames agreed to help with the greenhouse at their son's request.

Every spring, they head to Hagerstown in late February to get started. They stay with their son Monday through Friday, do a little work at the greenhouse Saturday, then head back to their home for the rest of the weekend. They keep that routine up until school ends for the year.

"She loves plants. She just enjoys it. I'm here because she's here," said Dick Frame.

Both are quick to add that the greenhouse is about the students, not them.

Barb Frame grew up on a farm, and said her parents taught her a lot about growing plants and flowers. As a result, she said, she loves to see things grow.

"We're just up here doing what we can to make it work for them," she said.

They help customers, tend to the plants and work with students on planting seeds, planting plugs, transplanting plants and plant care.

Students work in the greenhouse Tuesday, Thursdays and every other Friday in the morning. The rest of the time the Frames are on their own.

"I learned so much here. It's a lot of fun working with the people," said senior Nick Kendle, a culinary arts student who hopes one day to open his own restaurant.

Student Tyler Spencer said he likes the sense of community.

"The Frames are amazing. They make you feel like a second family. I call them Mom and Dad," Spencer said.

"They're really nice people. Even when you're having a bad day, you come in here and it cheers you up," said student Jessica Green.

"We're met a lot of nice people," said Dick Frame, 70.

"Yes, we have. The community has really supported the school," Barb Frame said. "It's really been interesting working with the students and our son."

The Frames also have a grown daughter who lives in West Virginia, three granddaughters and one grandson.

Back home, they're involved with their church, and Dick Frame mows a local church cemetery, as well as their own lawn.

Barb Frame works in her flower beds when time permits, and checks in with friends and several elderly people she and her husband take out for meals or help when needed. She's also dedicated to volunteering for the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life after enduring three bouts of cancer.

The greenhouse at 50 W. Oak Ridge Drive offers a variety of annuals, perennials and vegetables. It is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.

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