Months of hard work and delicate nurturing have paid off for students in the Special Service’s Transition Program at Lincoln-Way East High School.
Students have been growing about 400 poinsettia plants in the school’s greenhouse (House of Blooms) since September and are ready to begin selling them to the community.
“The kids in the transition program have done an awesome job,” said Joshua Kreske, the transitional coordinator at Lincoln-Way East.
“The poinsettias are absolutely beautiful this year,” he added, bursting in the traditional colors of pink, red and white.
Students began growing the poinsettias from rooted cuttings in September, learning how to keep them moist in the early stages and then pinching their tops to promote growth.
Four weeks in, they carefully transplanted the poinsettias from 2-inch pots to 6-inch pots.
Since one side of the greenhouse tends to get more natural light than the other, students made sure to rotate the plants on a regular basis so each one could benefit from the sun.
About 40 students were involved in the project, giving them an opportunity to learn valuable job skills, such as how to work as a team, how to follow multi-step directions, how to advocate for themselves and how to problem solve.
The program was initiated by Lincoln-Way East’s Special Services Department two years ago to benefit students with special needs.
“The purpose is to develop the students’ skills within the transition program,” said Kreske. “Students are not only gaining knowledge on how to grow plants but how to work as a member of a team, how to follow multi-step directions, how to advocate for themselves and how to problem solve. They’re also learning and developing their skills in the areas of bookkeeping, computer data entry, inventory, proper job/work behaviors, sales, marketing and independence.”
Students are selling their poinsettias for $5 each. Each one comes with a decorate foil cover for the pot.
A deluxe version, which includes a decorative foil cover, ribbon, glitter and a handmade holiday planter decoration, also is available for $7.
Those interested in purchasing a poinsettia may contact the Special Services Department at 815-464-4121.
Proceeds will be used to further develop transitional opportunities and experiences for the East students in Special Services.