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What You’re Missing Out On In Horticulture


There are so many interesting elective classes to take here at Gloucester High School. Of the vast array of CTE classes available, you should really consider joining either the Vet Science or Horticulture class with Mrs. Hypes. These are by far the most engaging and hands-on classes you might ever take in your high school career, and if you are interested in pursuing a career in veterinary medicine or horticulture, some of the upper-level classes offer college credits. I spent a week with the Horticulture class so that I could get the experience to know just how fun this class really is. I’ll be explaining my day-by-day experience in this class to give you an idea of what it’s like and to possibly help you decide if the class is right for you. 


Day 1

My first day in the class was spent mostly observing, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t interesting. The state Future Farmers of America or FFA officers also  were there to teach the class about life skills and career opportunities. It started off with everyone introducing themselves along with telling the group two truths and a lie while the rest of us had to guess the lie. They even invited me to join in! They then discussed goals for their future and did skits to demonstrate certain character traits that are helpful to have in the real world. All the while there was music in the background as students, teachers, and FFA officers alike laughed and sang along. I had only been there for a half an hour, and I already knew this was a great class with a very fun atmosphere.


Day 2

The second day started off slow but slowly got more intriguing. The class was working on paper assignments and taking notes, but we quickly moved from the classroom into the “shop,” the big room in the back of the classroom where some of the plants and all of the animals are kept. There is a wide variety of animals that the shop houses such as chinchillas, a rabbit, a turtle, and leopard gecko, a guinea pig, a hedgehog, and fish. I myself spent a great deal of time with the rabbit, a lop named Ollie. And while the shop is also home to plants as well as the animals, you’ll have better luck looking for those in the greenhouse, which is filled top to bottom with all kinds of plant specimens. I spent most of the day helping plant tomatoes of a few different varieties like beefsteak and sweet million. We planted over 60 different pots of tomato seeds.

Day 3 

On day three, the tasks included cleaning mite-infected ferns and setting up the greenhouse for the next plant sale. We cheerfully reorganized the plants according to size and species as our class guest Luna, the chocolate lab, joined us for the lesson. All kinds of plants are grown in the greenhouse, like ferns, bell peppers, string-of-pearls, and morning glories, to name a few. Later, we scrubbed mold and mites from some poor fern plants that had contracted an infection with toothbrushes. The disease made the plant look as though it was rotting from the outside, and we knew it had to be saved. By the end of the day, the students had saved at least three plants. Although it was a very messy process, it was good to see the plant saved and to have made progress. 


Day 4 

On the fourth day of class, we began by discussing several methods of plant propagation. While the students gave examples of the plants on campus that could be grown in this manner, Mrs. Hypes explained each one. When she mentioned that we could pick a plant to propagate and bring home with us, everyone became enthusiastic, myself included. We had a field trip around the campus of the school to gather cuttings from various plants, including irises, gardenias, and sage. I myself went with Daylilies. We visited multiple locations, such as the garden beds in front of the school, the planters behind the baseball field, and the beds inside the football stadium. Maya, Mrs. Hypes’ whippet, accompanied us as well so she could get some exercise. 


Day 5 

The only plan on the agenda for my last day of horticulture was to plant the cuttings that had been gathered from the day before. Each of us put a cutting in the appropriate pot and added whatever was required to support the plant’s growth or the initiation of root development. To encourage growth, a rooting hormone was occasionally applied to the end of the cutting’s stem. My lilies did not need the hormone since they had already developed healthy roots. But sadly, the end of my time in the class got inevitably closer. At the end of the day, I bid Mrs. Hypes, the students, and the animals farewell. I left the class with some incredible memories and my freshly potted Daylilies. 


Imagine now how much fun you could have each day if you enrolled in this course. You should really think about joining this class if you enjoy working with wonderful people, animals, and plants. I had a great overall experience during my little time in this class. I was very lucky to have decided to join the class during such a productive week. As I previously stated, Gloucester High School offers an abundance of engaging elective courses and you could be seriously missing out on some truly amazing opportunities. The class also offers club opportunities as well in the form of the FFA, a non-profit organization that promotes careers in agriculture. If you are considering a future career in agriculture or veterinary medicine, this class provides a very special privilege that not all schools provide. Even the students love it! “I would definitely recommend joining this class for the experience, if not just the easy A. One class member said, “You’re definitely missing out.” So, what are you waiting for? Talk to your counselor about getting Horticulture or Veterinary Science on your schedule for next year. I’m sure you’ll love it.

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About the Contributor
Jaidyn Abner
Jaidyn Abner, Staff Reporter
I’m Jaidyn, I’m 16 years old and I’m a sophomore at Gloucester High School. This is my firsttime taking journalism, and I took it so I can write about what I love. I moved here from Oregonabout 4 years ago now, and while I do enjoy Virginia and cherish the connections I’ve madehere, a part of me will always miss the pacific northwest. After high school I plan to go to collegeto study either sequential art, animation, or film/screenwriting.

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