Students in the Transitions Academy at Spring Hill High School are learning valuable skills while bringing smiles to the local community, one flower at a time.
The students started the Sweet Stallion Stem Floral Shop this year as a way for students to grow their skills, according to district officials. The floral shop started by only serving the Spring Hill High School community and then grew to service all the schools in the district and the district office.
“Last year we did a bag co-op where we bagged produce from a local farmers market but this year we weren’t allowed to do that,” said special education teacher Christen Miller. “We have our students from ninth grade until they are 21 years old and it is our job to transition them into the community, so we wanted to come up with a plan. We decided to be creative and what better way to spread cheer and learn skills than with flowers.”
The project allows the students to focus on learning more about sorting, math, cleaning, social and communication skills.
“It’s important that we offer these types of opportunities to our students because each student has different interests and different needs, so we try to accommodate those interests through different job experiences,” said special education teacher Olivia McCartney. “Students also have the opportunity to work in the cafeteria and at a nursery at a local church.”
Since this was the first year for the floral shop project, Spring Hill was able to find a partner and wholesale flower distributor in Branham Floral in Columbia. Vases for the program were supplied through a vase drive by the staff at the District Office.
Sweet Stallion Stem Floral Shop had floral jobs all year long and most recently completed a big order from the District Office. In a year unlike any other, School District Five Superintendent Dr. Christina Melton and executive staff members sent each first-year teacher a special bouquet to share their appreciation and recognize their commitment and dedication.
“This is such a sweet gesture since it has been such a crazy year,” said first-year teacher Anna Maria Gardiner. “Every time someone brings a little treat or recognition, it is just a reminder to keep chugging along and to keep doing what we’re doing and know that people appreciate us.”
Teachers said the main goal of the project is to help the students build their confidence.
“I hope our students end the year knowing that they have worked really hard and have brought a lot of smiles to teachers and other adults in our community,” said McCartney.