Woodland High School’s Floriculture Team placed eighth in the nation, representing Washington State at the National FFA Convention held in Indianapolis, Indiana. Woodland’s team earned the privilege of representing Washington following competitions at the local and state levels against teams from high schools throughout the state during the 2017-2018 school year.

The FFA Floriculture Career Development Event (CDE) tests teams on their knowledge and skills in the production and retailing of flowers, plants and foliage. Team members complete a general knowledge exam on the floriculture industry; identify plant materials; demonstrate problem-solving and decision-making skills; employment and customer service skills; technical floral skills; and the ability to work effectively as a team.

Woodland’s team received the GOLD Emblem and placed eighth in the nation, competing against state winners from throughout the United States. Woodland team members included Cooper Kaml, Jacob Laddusaw, Jennifer Parkhill, Elisabeth Patnode and Megan Shubert with Team Advisor Mary Ellen Vetter reprising her role as coach after retiring from Woodland Public Schools in June.

Chapter Coach Mary Ellen Vetter (far left), Cooper Kaml, Jacob Laddusaw, Elisabeth Patnode, Megan Shubert and Jennifer Parkhill

Horticulture and plant science curriculum includes learning about the germination of seeds, proper watering techniques, and pest control. In addition, students receive a full education of the plant industry, meeting industry standards which are also aligned with state science requirements for common core.

Mary Ellen taught floriculture and horticulture for nearly 40 years over the course of her career, teaching at Woodland for almost three decades. “I particularly enjoyed watching students take what they learned in class and applying it to their lives outside of school,” she said. “Many of my students run their own shops with others working for agriculture companies as well as many who use their developed skills just for personal benefit such as growing household gardens.”

Some of the team members who graduated in 2018 returned to compete in the national competition, including Cooper Kaml who was a horticulture rookie during his senior year and ended up winning the state championship. Although Cooper’s success stemmed from incredible self-discipline, he believes all students can be successful at their studies if they put their minds to it. “I recommend using multiple different ways to learn including receiving both aural and vocal reassurance by having friends help quiz you,” he said. “Don’t just use flash cards – use flash cards, writing, record yourself – the more methods you use, the more your brain will internalize what you’re learning.”

The National FFA Organization includes more than 650,000 student members and more than 8,500 FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. For more information, visit the FFA website at www.FFA.org.