NAUGATUCK — When Gilmar Queiros was 4, he moved with his mother and sister to Brazil. Years later, he returned to the U.S. to live with his aunt in search of better educational opportunities.
Now, the Naugatuck High School senior is looking to make the best of the opportunities before him and a hectic senior year by giving back to the community.
“I’m going off to college, and I want to look back and say it was all worth it and I helped impact the lives of others,” Queiros said.
Queiros is raising money to build a greenhouse for his high school capstone project.
Capstone projects are year-long projects that students develop and complete by themselves under the guidance of an advisor.
“It really has to have something with a bigger meaning and purpose and social aspect,” Queiros explained.
Queiros’ plan is to erect a greenhouse on the high school’s ground. He will maintain and grow the vegetables during first period, which is designated for work on capstone projects.
As part of the project, special education students at the high school will help to maintain the greenhouse and its crops as an interactive gardening program.
Queiros explained a portion of what is grown in the greenhouse will be sold to raise some money for special education programs at the high school. Once he moves onto college, Queiros said, the greenhouse will continue to be maintained by special education students.
Everything else the greenhouse produces will be donated to the Naugatuck Senior Center.
“It will not only benefit the senior population but also improve and help, a lot, our special education students in our school,” Queiros said about the project.
Queiros’ choice of building a greenhouse was born from his desire to give back with an eye on thanking senior citizens. He explained that when he returned to the U.S. he was amazed with how much the senior population did to ensure the community grew in a righteous way and pass on a sense of citizen responsibly to future generations.
Queiros said he needs to raise between $1,500 and $2,000 to get his project off the ground. Once the greenhouse is up, he said, he wants to do things the right way and buy a heating system as well so crops can be grown during the winter.
There is a greenhouse currently at the senior center, but Queiros said, it can’t be used during the winter.
Queiros plans to begin building the greenhouse in the mid-October and is holding a few fundraisers to make his project a reality. He will be holding a bake sale in front of Wal-mart on New Haven Road from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 30 and Oct. 7. He will also have a booth at the All Arts Festival, Oct. 1, on the Town Green.
“I’m just really trying to do the best as possible and depending, relying really, on people’s donations,” Queiros said.
Anyone interested in making a donation can e-mail Queiros at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.