Kingston FFA branches out to the community

KINGSTON — Though each of Kingston Junior High School teacher Steve Mahitka’s classes began Monday with a lesson in WASL vocabulary, their next activity of the day was drastically more hands-on.

Closing the books and putting away their worksheets, Mahitka and his students travelled outside the classroom and into one of the KJH greenhouses for a lesson in both horticulture and holiday decor.

Mahitka is preparing the youngsters for the upcoming KJH holiday plant sale, an event in which the students will create all of the items offered. From poinsettias to wreaths, they’ll prepare it all — in two days — to be sold to the North End community.

“The big thing is the final product,” Mahitka said. “How much do the students want to put into the final product? How much do they want to be associated with it when they sell it?”

The sale is a lesson for the students not only in horticulture but also in customer service, in decoration skills and, foremost, in horticulture.

“Usually, they make one,” Mahitka said of the student’s work ethic when making the items. “And then they want to make another and then another.”

Students in the Kingston Future Farmers of America club along with Mahitka’s classes also participate in running the sale. And there is ample motivation for the students to sell as much as they can as all proceeds from the sale will go toward taking about 60 Kingston Junior High School students to the Seattle Flower and Garden Show in the spring.

Three different colors of poinsettias — white, pink and red — will be on sale for $7 during the all-school day sales Dec. 9-10. Also available will be Christmas cacti for $5, wreaths for $15 and centerpieces for as low as $5 and as high as $8.

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