Horticulture students spread holiday cheer in the President’s house
By Hannah Rogers, ‘12
Students scattered around the Presidents mansion, the cool weather and changing leaves mark the time of year the retail floristry class is welcomed to spread their knowledge of Christmas cheer, the horticulturalists way.
Last Tuesday, the Texas A&M horticulture floral design class embarked on a task they had planned and plotted for weeks. The students were given three weeks of preparation for their final project. The class began that morning being merely observed by professor Bill McKinley and assistant professor James Johnson, and equipped with the knowledge gained in class. This is professor McKinley’s second year to have his class decorate the presidents’ house.
“It has to have that wow factor and the mechanics have to be perfect, you can’t have one without the other and have a memorable special event,” McKinley said.
The details range from safety of the items, decorations that can be put in place without damaging the property, color and proportion of the decorations and incorporating this year’s theme of angels.
“We have angels in every room that create harmony and unity, and the architecture of this home is exquisite making it necessary for the decorations to be up to that standard,” Johnson said.
The excitement of being included in a special event like this one was evident on the students faces working throughout the house.
Katie Jacob is a senior business major taking this class for fun, but was extremely excited to be able to be one of the few students that have had the honor to be invited into the Presidents house.
“I have helped set up the Christmas tree in the main living room and I’ve done some of the arrangements, but we have all worked on this project together making it a joint effort,” Jacob said.
The floral design class is a favorite among horticulture students, including Jessica Dunn, senior horticulture major. Dunn wants to be an event planner and own her own business; she has been able to learn a lot form this class to assist in preparing for her future.
“We’ve learned how to incorporate all of the designs we made and it’s been really special to be able to put that into action here in the Presidents house and see them all tie in together,” Dunn said.
There are a variety of mechanics that go into decorating the house that most wouldn’t think of. McKinley highlighted principles and elements of design the students used in the event.
“How the pieces incorporate into each other and how they are dependent upon each other for instance is one design element along with form, texture and rhythm,” McKinley said.
The students not only learned many techniques for floral arrangements, but also how to create more permanent arrangements like the ones they used in the event.
“It’s rewarding for the students to know that their work will fill the Presidents’ family with joy throughout this Christmas season, and to know that the skills they have learned were put to use hands-on,” McKinley said.
Hannah Rogers is a senior Agricultural Communications and Journalism major from Boerne, Texas.