Somerville fifth-graders heading to White House to plant some goodwill

Five students from the Arthur D. Healey School in Somerville will help Michelle Obama with some gardening at the White House on Thursday.

The fifth-graders are among 30 students from schools around the country who will help plant vegetables and herbs in the kitchen garden on the White House’s South Lawn.

Somerville schools received an invitation from Obama’s office two weeks ago, school spokeswoman Susana Hernandez Morgan said.


The five students were chosen because they are active in the Healey School’s community garden program and also have gardens at home, Hernandez Morgan said.

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Obama’s invitation did not say why Somerville was chosen, but the city’s Shape Up Somerville program has previously received recognition from the president’s wife, who is focused on fighting childhood obesity.

The five students, Ariana Docanto, Gabriela Lopez Arias, Sarah Sweeting, Lana Popovic, and Brian Chan, will fly to Washington on Thursday morning with two chaperones.

They are scheduled to meet with Michelle Obama from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. and to return home in the evening, Hernandez Morgan said.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.