Student of the Month is a green belt with a green thumb

Luke Tufts poses with his garden, which he tends to at his grandmother's house in Burlington. / Kristi Tufts, Special to the Times-News

By Caroline Carpenter
Times-News correspondent

Luke Tufts, gardening extraordinaire and loving son, is August’s Student of the Month. Luke was nominated by Mildred Massengill, a friend of his grandmother, Linda Price. He thinks the world of these ladies, and they think the same of him.
Luke is a sixth-grader at River Mill Academy, the son of Jerry and Kristi Tufts of Graham and has a sister named Layla. He expressed an interest in gardening at an early age. He has been planting and tending to a garden since he was around 2 years old (quite an amazing feat for a toddler). He has been replanting the garden every year starting in late May. His garden consists of a variety or plants. He has tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, watermelon, cantaloupe, a banana tree, a pineapple tree, an avocado tree — and that’s just to name a few.
“He’s always loved gardening from a young age. He always gets so excited when he finally gets to let people taste what he’s grown,” said his mom.
He has to monitor the garden every day and that, along with the stress of school work and other activities, takes much will and patience. He also manages to balance both a pride for his workmanship with a modesty about what he does. He does not sell the products of his hard labor, but instead gives it to his family, and any extras to friends and neighbors.
Even with all the busyness a garden provides, he still manages to balance more into his schedule. He has done Taekwondo for more than a year and has already managed to earn his green belt.
This Student of the Month’s hard work and determination doesn’t stop in the garden, nor in just the dojang; Luke Tufts brings out his skillful nature in both school and at home.
He’s extremely intelligent (a straight “A” student), and while most people plan on being vets or pilots, he longs to be an anesthesiologist. Luke is often described as giving, trustworthy and considerate. He shows this in his everyday actions by doing little things such as helping his dad with yard work or his grandmother, a former Times-News Cook of the Month, with cooking.
When asked if her son would keep up his garden well into the future, his mom said, “I have no doubt that Luke will continue to keep gardening. It’s become such a big part of him and of his life. I don’t think I can imagine Luke not having his garden.”

 Caroline Carpenter is a sophomore at Western Alamance High School
and a Teens & Twenties writer.


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