GUSTINE – A popular floral design course at Gustine High School has expanded this year to add an advanced section.
The advanced class offers the opportunity for students who have started to bloom to take their skills to a new level with increasingly complex projects, explained teacher Sarah Thommen.
The advanced program was previously integrated into the high school floral class, she explained. This year the Advanced Floral Course is a stand-alone class with a relatively small enrollment of 14 students, while the two sections of the Beginner Floral Course are full.
“In the starting class, students learn all the basics … the basics, from design elements to identifying over 100 flowers. They learn the cost breakdown and how they can profit from it, and start with the basics, ”Thommen explained. “Advanced students are able to apply all of these skills. They make larger scale arrangements and come up with designs, where newbie students learn what to do and follow through on that.
The elements and principles of floral design incorporate combinations of textures, spaces and colors, she noted, with students being able to inject their own artistic flair.
“It can be learned, but some students have a natural gift for it,” noted Thommen.
Blooming students in beginner and advanced courses regularly practice what they learn, Thommen noted, as they create arrangements for a variety of school activities and run a flower arrangement subscription program that begins. by a package of five bouquets. Arrangements are given to subscribers throughout the school year.
“They are all made by students and the kids are responsible for delivering it to their customers,” Thommen noted.
Experience instills responsibility, organizational skills and business experience.
“They know that when there is a task to be done, they will do it,” Thommen noted. “There is a lot of buy-in from the kids to order things.
“They’re at the point where a lot of them could just take care of everything themselves,” she said. “It’s nice to see.”
The profits go to the floral program, which started about four years ago. Members of a floral club – open to any student, but mostly made up of floral design students – decide how the funds will be spent.
A floral design team also participates in competitions in the spring. Competitions include testing on a variety of related topics, assessment of arrangements, and a design cycle in which students present their own skills.
For Alexis Barnett, who has completed both beginner and advanced level floral studies and is now a teaching assistant for the advanced course, floral design has been an eye-opening experience.
“I didn’t realize there were different elements and so many things that come into play,” she said.
The course, she added, is not only enjoyable, but instills time management and organizational skills.
“I love this class,” Barnett concluded.