Heading into the thick of spring, Rudder and Bryan High students are developing their creativity and career prospects through floral design.

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FINAL FITTING – A floral design student makes last minute changes to her floral arrangement.

Part of FFA, floral design classes teach students skills they can use in a florist shop, a hobby business and many other industries.

Rebecca Casey Ortiz, Rudder junior, is taking floral design classes for the first time this year and was recently offered a job with an event planning business arranging flowers for smaller events and dinners.

“The things I’m learning in floral design, I’m able to apply in my job,” Ortiz said.

Evolving Program


GREEN THUMB – Floral design students learn about all aspects of the plants they arrange.

Michelle Knox, Ortiz’s floral design teacher at Rudder, said she is “out-shined” all the time by her students, which is something she loves. She said she is constantly reminded how students are growing in their skills. Knox started teaching floral design at Rudder in 2014, but she said the program has really “taken off” the last two years.

“On days that projects are finished you see kids throughout the hallway with their arrangements and it’s like walking advertisements to take floral design,” Knox said. “For those who can’t take floral design, we do seasonal Pinterest nights where anyone can come and make the project of the month with all supplies provided and help offered for a small fee.”

Next school year, advanced floral design classes will be offered at Rudder and Bryan High, bringing increased certification and competition opportunities and a possible floral club at Rudder. Barbara Volk-Tunnell, Bryan High floral design teacher, said students could get a high school floral certification or an art certification through floral design.

“This gives them the opportunity to get a foot in the door to get a job over someone that doesn’t have a certification,” Volk-Tunnell said. “They might get paid more or be able to be a little more hands-on. Even if they’re not going to go into as a career, it looks good on their resume.”

Seizing Opportunity


FOCUSED PRECISION – A floral design student trims a plant to get the right fit for her arrangement.

Her students have traveled all over the state for competitions related to horticulture and floral arrangements. Kamryn, Frenzel, one of Volk-Tunnel’s sophomore students, recently earned second place in the “Dining with a Texas Flair” competition at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and walked away with $750 to use as she sees fit.

“I didn’t know that I would be good at floral design,” Frenzel said. “I didn’t know what I was doing and didn’t have any experience. I just learned a lot in this class and it’s very helpful.”

Ola Thornhill, Bryan High sophomore, signed up for floral design because she wanted to learn something new. She quickly learned that the class involved more than she expected.

“You have to know a lot personally about plants,” Thornhill said. “You have to learn about the different types of arrangements. It’s not just putting plants together. You have to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.”

Children First. Always.



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