W.F. West students are showing off their green thumbs as part of the school’s Botany class, where they are learning the various aspects of planting, growing and caring for a crop of spring flowers and plants as well as how these skills may translate into a future job.

Taught by Kyla Bailey, the class is part of W.F. West High School’s Career and Technical offerings to help students explore potential career paths while still in high school.

Students have worked extra hard to raise plants for the school’s Home and Garden Show which will take place May 2-4 and raise funds for W.F. West programs. In partnership with the school’s FFA program, students learned the basics of horticulture and botany, including how to take plants from seeds or starts and nurture them into beautiful products for spring planting, including hanging baskets and color bowls.

“It’s more like a business than a class,” said teacher Kyla Bailey who currently has about 45 students in the program. “We spend a lot of time talking about the skills that an employer would look for when they are hiring and we ask, ‘What would an “A” in this class look like in the world of work?’ Maybe being named employee of the month. A “C” might represent an employee who just wants a paycheck and isn’t willing to do anything extra.”

Bailey teaches students to use their time efficiently, to be involved in class activities, and to problem solve when faced with roadblocks, such as the impacts of weather or other unforeseen challenges such as a shortage of topsoil or other supplies. Students also help with marketing and promotion of the sale.

“After the sale we will do a recap, assessing the successes and what could have been done differently,” said Bailey.

Students learn about careers related to horticulture, including floral design, working at a nursery, architectural landscaping, manual landscaping, and others. Current and former students tell her these are life skills that they’ve put to good use whether in the world of work or their own home gardens.

The W.F. West Home and Garden Show will take place May 2 and 3 from 3:30-6:30 p.m. and May 4 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.