Ag Horticulture Class Teaches More Than Flower Arrangement
Ag Horticulture classes around MUHSD are gearing up for one of their busiest days of the year...Valentine’s Day. Students and staff typically spend the days leading up to it arranging orders that have come in and preparing for the last-minute rush.
“Valentine’s Day is extremely busy for us,” said Merced High Ag Teacher Mrs. Brewer. “I mean, we’re making arrangements all day long. It gets pretty hectic around here.”
On the big day, Mrs. Brewers class will spend the mornings filling orders and making deliveries to other classes and offices. Then during lunch, they’ll set up out in the quad for those who may not have seen their flyer and didn’t know flowers were sold on campus. Some campuses also sell flowers to the public, and at a more affordable rate than most floral shops.
“Because students make the arrangements, we do offer them at a lower cost than a regular business,” said Brewer. “But we also ask for a donation which goes right back into the program.”
All proceeds earned go toward purchasing more flowers, which can be quite expensive, as well as supplies and marketing tools. A recent purchase for Mrs. Brewer’s class was a lightbox to create better photos of the student’s work, which are then posted on the class website and social media pages.
“Marketing is a big element of the class,” said Brewer. “It allows students to see the business side of floral and how it’s not just about creating something pretty. You have to present it in a way that makes people want to spend their money.”
Those photos can then be assembled into a portfolio, something Atwater High Ag Teacher Kaylyn Davenport stresses to her students.
“The students learn how to promote themselves as a designer by doing things like posting their arrangements on social media,” said Davenport. “Even if they don’t have an account, I tell them to create one just to show off their work. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a lot of followers, but it’s a good way to market yourself to the public and to a prospective employer.”
Another way to impress a potential boss is to have design certification, something that is available for those taking the advanced horticulture class. To earn the certificate, upon completion of the class students must demonstrate proficiency in several areas including bouquet design, corsage and have the ability to duplicate an arrangement.
“The certification is recognized industry-wide, so for someone interested in pursuing a career in floral, having that already in their portfolio will give them a head-start in front of everyone else,” said Davenport.
Both Brewer and Davenport have big goals for their respective programs that include an actual storefront on campus run by students. A vehicle for deliveries would be ideal too. Until then, the public can call and arrange a time to pick up orders which are submitted online. The flowers that are available at any given time depends on the season, and as you would imagine, right now it’s all about the roses!