Monday, May 21, 2018
Education

Plant business blooming at Moore-Mickens Education Center

DADE CITY — It takes a lot of helping hands to make a business grow. Take one look at the colorful blooms in the Mickens' Pickins greenhouse and it's clear that the students in the Exceptional Student Education program at Moore-Mickens Education Center are up to task.

They've been tending to their horticultural endeavor for a few months now, from planting seeds, to transplanting them into individual pots, to carting them inside under the threat of a freeze, to getting them ready for sale.

There's money to be earned with those plants — money that will help expand the school-based business that provides on-the-job training to students like Jon Reed, 20, who likes going to work.

"It's a very hot job — I'll tell you, it's very hot," said Reed as he transplanted ageratum sprouts with Angelica Tull, 20, and Cassie Greene, 21, while Jake Johnson, 19, and Kate-lyn Trevor, 22, filled 4-inch pots with soil. "But part of doing a good job is being good to your boss, doing what your boss tells you."

Mickens' Pickins has gotten grant funding from Florida Ag in the Classroom, the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Pasco Education Foundation Inc. The local Lowe's and Walmart stores have also donated plant trays. But the enterprise has also generated funding through plant sales held at the school, and more recently, at the Dade City Garden Club's Blooming Art Show held this past Saturday.

"Last year we raised enough money to buy a 12- by 16-foot toolshed," said Mary Lou Jordan, who oversees the school-based horticulture business along with a seasonal greeting card business. "We really needed one because all our tools are rusting."

So far it's been a bountiful season for the gardeners who are now seeing the fruits of their labor: zinnias, amaryllis, salvia, pansies, geraniums, gerbera daisies and marigolds bursting yellow and deep red, all ready for transplanting into someone's home garden.

"This one is my favorite," said Dustin Chancey, 21, randomly holding up a potted marigold as he gave a guided tour.

There will be more to come as the students continue to make their twice- daily treks out to the greenhouse in preparation for another school sale to be held sometime in May, before Mother's Day. With hundreds of annuals going for 50 cents each and geraniums and amaryllises for $2, there's sure to be more cash coming in.

"Okay, let's get these babies into the pots," Jordan instructed her students as they transplanted a new tray of ageratum seedlings into 4-inch pots. "Fifty cents, 50 cents, 50 cents," she said, counting them off as they were done. "You do the math."

   
Comments
Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

Parents score victory in effort to make travel safer for Westchase students

TAMPA — Hillsborough County school leaders call it courtesy busing, but to Lauren Hawkins it’s more a matter of life and death.More students living close to their schools in the Westchase community used the Hillsborough school district’s courtesy bus...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

Eckerd College hosts a royal celebration of its own

A day after England’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, St. Petersburg hosted a royal celebration of its own. Among the estimated 500 graduates to receive an Eckerd College diploma at Sunday’s graduation ceremony held...
Updated: 7 hours ago
At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

At vigil, another school mourns: ‘It is hope in the face of tragedy that brings us together today.’

SANTA FE, Texas - They gathered here by the dozens Friday evening, wearing their school colors, T-shirts that said "Texas Tough," while huddling under the shade of a gaggle of pine trees, not 11 hours after the first shots were fired.They came to pra...
Published: 05/19/18
‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

‘I always felt it would eventually happen here’: A Santa Fe High School survivor’s reaction to the shooting

Paige Curry tried to keep calm Friday morning as a gunman tore through her Santa Fe High School, eventually killing 10 people and injuring another 10. The 17-year-old watched as a girl nearby panicked. Curry, herself terrified, considered running out...
Published: 05/19/18
Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Class of 2018: Meet the valedictorians and salutatorians for Pinellas private high schools

Before they could get away, we asked the top graduates at Pinellas County’s private schools to write a Twitter-length paragraph about what’s on their mind. We suggested they reflect on the past or the future, or talk about the people who helped them ...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/18/18
Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

Class of 2018: TBT’s Anita Morgan rises above abuse to thrive

TAMPA — For those who fear there is no hope, or help, or heart left in this world, there is the story of Anita Morgan.There are any number of life-wrenching places to begin …In the middle of the night, in the back of a police car, cruising over the b...
Published: 05/17/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Florida teacher accused of drowning raccoons in class placed on leave

Florida teacher accused of drowning raccoons in class placed on leave

A Florida teacher was placed on administrative leave after school officials were told that he had students help him drown wild raccoons during class.A 14-second video published by CBS affiliate WKMG showed a group of students filling a tub of water u...
Published: 05/17/18
The US spends less on children than almost any other developed nation

The US spends less on children than almost any other developed nation

The federal government now spends less than it did about 30 years ago on some of the country’s poorest children, the result of cuts to federal welfare programs, according to a new research paper.In 1990, the government spent about $8,700 on every chi...
Published: 05/17/18
Two gifts on graduation day: white Crocs, and a lesson that ‘it can’t hurt to ask’

Two gifts on graduation day: white Crocs, and a lesson that ‘it can’t hurt to ask’

ST. PETERSBURG — Sarah Agee and her friends never pictured themselves wearing Crocs to their graduation. But the foam shoes were comfortable, offered better footing than heels, and now the Seminole High seniors had a story to tell.It all started a li...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18