George County High horticultural program is growing fast - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

George County High horticultural program is growing fast

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GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

The bedding plant industry in George County brings in millions of dollars each year. Some of the people who work in that industry got their start at George County High School. Tuesday, the school had a chance to show off two newly refurbished green houses used in the horticulture program.

With the cut of a ribbon, the new green houses are open for business. These are working units, used by students to grow and sell their popular product. 

Being in the horticulture program has a lasting impact on the students. One of them is Kenley Havard.  

"I was possibly considering being a horticulture teacher. That's what my major plan was to come back and become a horticulture teacher, because the whole state is low on them. The whole state is low on agricultural teachers," Havard said. 

Other students, like Carl Elkins, use the program to grow other careers.  

"I don't know particularly about selling plants or dealing with plants, but I do want to go into the biology field or maybe a science field dealing with different types of plants and I thought maybe this could help," Elkins explained.

That help comes in many forms. Rick McMullan is the horticulture instructor. 

"Having this facility here, they get to do hands on. They learn about business, they learn how to handle money, they learn how to deal with people, they learn job skills," McMullan said. 

The improvements were made possible with a $10,000 in-kind donation from a local businessman, Mitchel Summers.

"The vocational programs, I think, are an excellent, excellent program. But they can't do everything they need to do, and I think that the community ought to get behind the vocational programs and volunteer a little time if they can," Mitchel said. 

Sure, these students are learning important job skills they can carry with them into the future. But they're also learning something else that's just as important, how to have fun in class, according to McMullan.  

"We try and make it enjoyable. We want them to have a good time. I recruit kids by telling them that I can teach them what they need to know about horticulture without them even knowing it." 

The horticultural program at George County high has been ranked one of the best in the state for the past four years.

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