slide image

Everything's Coming up Roses


girl with rose
Floral design classes at Rubidoux High School​ once required a lab fee, but this made it difficult for some students to participate. To remedy this, lab fees were waived and floral design students began selling flowers during lunch to raise the necessary funds for class projects. Five years later, and this Friday fundraising continues to provide students opportunities to create special arrangements for holidays and events, and allows them to take their projects home upon completion.

On Friday, October 15th, volunteers from the class sold red and pink single roses for $2; small bouquets for $5; and large bouquets for $14. In preparation, students removed thorns and fitted each flower with a water tube to preserve freshness. As soon as the lunch period began, customers lined up outside the floral design classroom, ready to make their purchases. The single roses were by far the most popular, and all flowers were sold within the first ten minutes of lunch.

“I think the sales today have been exceptional,” said Alyssa Pantoja, senior and floral design student. “They have been since the beginning, and I hope they continue to stay like that.”

halloween arrangementFloral design is part of the robust agricultural program at Rubidoux, which also includes courses in horsemanship and veterinary science. Though Alyssa enrolled in the class to fulfill a requirement, she enjoys floral design and especially values her teacher, Kelsey Finnicum. “I think I’ve learned a lot so far during floral,” she shared. “It’s definitely more than just taking a vocational class.”

Most floral sales take place from a table just outside the classroom, but Alyssa prefers to put on a yellow apron and take a basket of flowers into the lunch crowd to sell directly to students. 

“I actually really enjoy going outside and being able to interact with people to try and sell the flowers,” she said. This way, she can also act as an ambassador for Rubidoux’s agricultural program, talking to students about the classes offered and sharing her experiences. 

flower stand
In floral design, students learn about the floral industry as a whole. Ms. Finnicum takes them through the history, how floral design affects major holidays, and floral design’s largest impact: weddings. Students also study the color wheel and learn to identify flowers for an arrangement. Hands-on projects include creating arrangements for holidays and events throughout the school year. Once students have completed the first course, they have the opportunity to enroll in the advanced course, also taught by Ms. Finnicum. 

“[Floral design] exposes them to something new,” said Ms. Finnicum. “Some of them are very creative and artistic and that shows when they’re making their arrangements. Others are just wanting to learn something new, and so that’s fine, too. I think it’s just a good way to provide something additional in class. It gives them a little more opportunity.”

Alyssa agrees. “There’s so much you can learn and there’s never just one thing you can do,” she shared. “You can have so much creativity.”