JJC Floral Design Students Take Top Honors at Michigan Floral Association Competition

Two students from Joliet Junior College (JJC) placed second and third at the Michigan Floral Association student design contest this spring.JJC Floral Design Students Take Top Honors at Michigan Floral Association Competition

Denise Pascarella, of Braidwood, placed second and Gabriella Ortega, of Berwyn, placed third.
The students were asked to create a fresh flower tribute for a memorial service. Each piece had to represent a hobby or passion of the deceased, said Donna Theimer, JJC professor and department chair of agriculture.
Pascarella created a head of banana curls using leaves and decorative wire in memoriam of a hairdresser. Ortega was asked to create a tribute for someone who loved to crochet; she did so by draping crocheted decorative wire over a floral design.
JJC’s team included: Rachel Cisco of Seneca; Joyce Horvath of Homer Glen; Annalyn May of Plainfield; Stephanie Tornga of Oak Forest; Tara Walano of Orland Park; and Jennifer Vaslie of Frankfort.
In addition to the challenges, the students assisted with the presidential banquet designs by creating and installing table décor for the awards ceremony.
They also had the opportunity to sit through industry presentations on design trends and watch shows featuring the latest floral design styles for weddings, proms, funerals, and other celebrations, an experience that can’t be replicated in the classroom, said Theimer.
“This event is a wonderful way for students to be exposed to designs that they would never have the opportunity to see anywhere else in our area,” said Theimer. “I am really happy that the college supports these types of educational opportunities.”
In July, the team will head to Miami to compete in the National American Institute of Floral Design (AIFD) to defend their national title.

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