High School Competitors Hone Skills, Meet Future at ESC

Students prepare to lay pavers in the Hardscape Installation contest.

Students prepare to lay pavers in the Hardscape Installation contest.

A Floral Design competitor

A Floral Design competitor

Graduates Julie D. Kehrer-Vogel and Matthew D. Lowe act as the homeowners in the Sales Presentation competition.

Graduates Julie D. Kehrer-Vogel and Matthew D. Lowe act as the homeowners in the Sales Presentation competition.

A student carefully ponders the type of plant she has been challenged to identify.

A student carefully ponders the type of plant she has been challenged to identify.

Maintaining his focus in front of amused classmates, a student on a Toro Dingo diligently places a golf ball into the center ring during the Equipment Safety and Operation event.

Maintaining his focus in front of amused classmates, a student on a Toro Dingo diligently places a golf ball into the center ring

Twenty-three students from four schools took part in Penn College’s fourth annual High School Horticulture Field Day, held Friday at the Schneebeli Earth Science Center. Representatives of Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science & Technology, Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School, Franklin County Career & Technology Center, and Williamsport Area High School competed in categories that included Plant Identification, Equipment Safety and Operation, Hardscape Installation, Floral Identification, Floral Design, Corsage Making, and Sales Presentation. The competition is based on the national PLANET Student Career Days regularly attended by Penn College students, most recently last month in Colorado. Four alumni returned to campus, working as judges with eight first-year horticulture technology students. Some of the current Penn College students came here as high school contestants in the past, “so we think this is making an impact,” noted horticulture instructor Carl J. Bower Jr., who ran the events for the day. “We love to have the students on campus to show them what we do here, and for them to meet some graduates and current students.” Returning alumni were ornamental horticulture: landscape technology emphasis graduates Sandra M. Angstadt (2011) and Matthew D. Lowe (2012 – and a current technology management major); Julie D. Kehrer-Vogel, a 2003 landscape/nursery technology graduate; and Melissa A. Sitlinger, who graduated in 2005 from the floral design/interior plantscape major. “The Penn College Field Day provides students with a great opportunity to showcase their skills in the trades in a friendly, but educational setting,” said another alumnus who came back to ESC: Joseph C. Luther, a 2002 Penn College graduate in landscape/nursery technology who teaches horticulture/landscape construction at CPI. “It is a great experience for the students to interact with the professors and current students so they can get a first-hand look at the campus in order to further their education at a great facility.”
Photos by Deborah C. Books, secretary to the dean of transportation and natural resources technologies

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