Hidden life at J.Hop

J.Hop scholars may not know about the booming vegetable garden behind Building 7. This vegetable garden is cultivated by a man many students may not know. His name is McKinley Hayward, and he’s Coach Forte’s father.

Mr. Hayward keeps the garden as a volunteer. He’s 87 years old and says his secret to life is “be obedient to God and you will live time.” He also thinks that education is a top priority. “Without education you have nothing,” he says.

Mr. McKinley grows cabbages, purple cabbages, eggplants, tomatoes and collard greens. He also grows plants that aren’t edible but pleasing to look at, like sunflowers and other flowers.

The garden club is run by Coach Forte. When asked how she feels about her father tending the garden, she said she loves it. “He has something to look forward to every day. At his age it’s good to have something to look forward to.”

Coach Forte started the garden with the garden club, but it ended up taking too much time to maintain, which is where Mr. Hayward stepped in.