Happy Earth Day! CHS celebrates a love of nature through the collaborative efforts of annual plant sale!

A collaborative piece by Hali Coombs, Halley Kelley, Meghan Whitman, and Hank Wallace

You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy plants, and that’s pretty much the same thing

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–That was the motto of the CHS annual plant sale that ran from Thursday through Saturday last week, and what better time to brag about its success than Earth Day!? Although most of the weather was dreary-to-a-downpour, that didn’t stop the crowds from clearing the crops, so to speak.

This event had accrued over $20,000 by Friday afternoon, which will be invested back into the programs and projects for these classes including new classroom and lab equipment and adaptive tools for diverse student learners.  There are great plans to improve and grow the agriculture programs.

However, this isn’t just a story about petunia profits. This sale was the victory of many collaborative efforts, and countless hours spent in preparation.

Ms.  Nancy Mann is new to the Warrior Family at CHS having joined us from the agriculture classes at Wheeler High School in Cobb County.  She organized this event with approximately 50 students volunteering their time and all of her classes’ students putting forth 110% effort.  Ms. Mann teaches Basic Agriculture, General Horticulture II, Agriculture Business Management, and Floral Design at CHS.  In total, 125 students are enrolled in these courses.

“We started planning in February. We didn’t have access to the greenhouse until then,” said Ms. Mann.

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Ms. Mann with her agriculture students

Knowing that the greenhouse was shut down and inaccessible through February, to seeing it as it is presently filled to the brim with green, is nothing short of jaw-dropping.

Ms. Mann spent a couple hours every weekend, every day during Spring Break, and hours throughout the week preparing the greenhouse and products for this event ensuring plants were watered and maintained–on top of working with the students every day of the school week on elements of botany study, growth, design, and maintenance care.

The plant sale offered almost 100 products with most at an astonishing low price of $2-4 for a 4″ potted plant, to $10 for hanging baskets and arrangements rivaling anything that could be found at a store.  These products, which included herbs, vegetables, annuals, perennials, baskets, and potted arrangements, were cultivated and designed by Ms. Mann’s classes. As an event open to the community, the students had even designed a play area for children. These pictures do not do justice to all that was available, including products sold out by the time we arrived Friday after school.

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In addition to plant products, Ms. Carmen Andrews, the Food, Nutrition, and Wellness teacher collaborated with her students for this event to provide student-prepared rice pilaf recipe jars in herb and garden vegetable flavors, as well as chocolate squash muffin and zucchini cake with lemon buttercream mixes. Her class had even prepared cucumber dill sandwich samplers with fresh grown dill from the herbs for sale when we visited. So delicious!

The CTAE  classes also contributed! Mr. O’Bryant’s construction class built bird houses for $12.  Ms. Mann’s Agriculture class also constructed painted wooden quilt art that beautifully adorned the fences upon entrance to the sale for sale for only $25.

The students and staff worked tirelessly for the months and weeks leading to this event.

On Friday afternoon, minutes before closing and in cold, rainy weather, each yellow-clad student with hand-signed names on their shirts, still happily greeted customers and personally accompanied them through the aisles with an inventory check off sheet answering any and all questions about each plant.  After checking out, the students personally carted out plants to the customers’ cars.  They even organized teacher purchases to pick up after school.

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A student volunteer carts out a recent purchase to a customer’s car.

CHS Vice Principal, Ms. Ard, was purchasing what would be one of a few purchases already made.

“They had to bring two carts to my car!” she said. She admitted she had already spent quite a bit. We also found ourselves buying up several products. At the prices, quality, and availability, it was hard not to.

(Pictured above: Ms. Ard with student volunteers/ Halley Kelley and Meghan Whitman with the CHS Newspaper buying plants to take home)

Ms. Mann, and CHS, we look forward to next year’s successful plant sale!  Thank you to all who helped work with Mother Nature to spread the love and beauty this Earth Day!

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