Options for career exploration continue to grow at Palestine High School's Career Technology Education program. In fact, with a new floral design class, opportunities are blooming.
The new class stays current with holidays and events by creating arrangements with fresh flowers. This week, the class is incorporating a homecoming tradition – the mum – into the curriculum. Students create mums to wear themselves, give to a friend, or sell.
Maribel Hernández 17 and Idali Flores, 17, both seniors, said they plan to wear white mums. Traditionally, seniors wear white mums to the homecoming game; younger students wear mums decorated in school colors. Both seniors plan to give the mums they make in class to friends.
Local florists charge $25 to $50 for the custom silk creations. Small wonder, students are eagerly creating mums during class with materials purchased by the school.
Sofia Briseno, 17, said floral design is her favorite class. “I'm taking [floral design] for fun and to learn new stuff,” Briseno said. “I like flowers and I like to do hands-on things.”
This week, the class looked like a beehive, with students chatting or searching for materials or tools, such as staplers, staple remover, or scissors. Decorations included ribbons, some with glitter, in school colors – maroon, white, silver, or black – and pre-cut letters, numbers, or whatever else students could add to personalize their mums.
“They're building something they can see and touch,” said teacher Jenny Jones. Jones mostly teaches animal science but is teaching the floral design class to encourage more students to take agriculture classes.
Jones said she wants the class to create mums that will last through the homecoming, including the dance and Friday's football game against Crandall.
Floral design, a branch of agriculture education, is taught in other local high schools, but Jones is pairing the new class with a subscription format, which she borrowed from a school in Katy, Texas. Similar to a fruit-of-the-month delivery, teachers can pay $25 a month to receive a fresh floral arrangement delivered and presented by a PHS student.
Jones said the subscription service allows students to deliver and present their fresh flower creations. “They're seeing what it's really like to operate a floral shop,” Jones said.
Placing the arrangements in the classrooms also plants a seed for other students who may want to take the class in the future. “I wanted to get the class known on campus,” Jones said.
For the past five years or so, PHS students have been exploring career trades such as wood shop, welding, cosmetology, robotics, and health sciences. Hundreds of students have earned valuable certifications as welders, cosmetologists, emergency medical technicians, dental assistants, licensed vocational nurses, and veterinary assistants – to name a few.
Though it does not lead to certification, the floral design class allows students to branch out by putting their hands on new skills and business opportunities, while earning a fine arts credit.
Malaysia Horace, 16, said she is taking the class to learn about floral design as a career. Horace has already completed classes in audiovisual technology, health science, and culinary arts, but she's still curious. “I want to explore different careers,” she said.