JJC Floral Design Students Take First Place in National Competition

Two students from Joliet Junior College (JJC) triumphed in the National American Institute of Floral Designers (AIFD) competition placing first in the nation on July 3-8 in San Francisco.

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Both Kathrynn Wahl of New Lenox and Betsy Cangiano of Oswego tied for first place for overall designer of the year. Wahl also placed first in bridal bouquet and Cangiano in banquet design.

“The event made history,” said Donna Theimer, JJC professor and department chair of agriculture. “For the first time in the competition, two students from the same college tied for first place.”

JJC also brought home six additional awards. Cangiano placed second in sweetheart table design and eighth in bridal bouquet. Wahl placed third in banquet design, ninth in napkin design and 10th in sweetheart design and Kaitlyn Harlow of Kinsman placed fourth in sweetheart table design. Diane Chamberlain of New Lenox was also apart of the team.

The competition consists of four categories including bridal bouquet, banquet design, sweetheart table design and napkin design. The students have one hour to create and complete a design in each category with the exception of napkin design, which takes place in a 45-minute session.

Each category is judged on methodical use of color, depth, line, balance, focal emphasis, unity and proportion. Points are also awarded for flawless mechanics, appropriate interpretation for the category and creativity.

The competition provides students with the opportunity to use the skills they have acquired in the classroom in a real world scenario, Theimer said.

“It validates that what we are doing in the classroom is up to professional standards,” she added. “The success in the competition proves just how talented our students are.”

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