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"Working with plants and watching things grow is something people are supposed to do," says career-technical school teacher Kerry Beckel. "I enjoy giving students the hands-on-experience needed to succeed in the landscaping or garden center industry." By teaching students the necessary skills and giving them the education required for identifying plants, operating garden centers, designing gardens and installing landscapes, Beckel prepares juniors and seniors for a career in the green industry.
As the FFA Advisor Beckel works closely with her students to plan activities and travel to horticulture competitions and conventions. She is especially proud of her students' successes and their leadership development. "It is rewarding any time I have a student who is working in the field and they come to me to say they are doing well because I helped them, the program helped them. It's also rewarding to have students win scholarships through the FFA or Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association. Many of these students will be the first to graduate from high school in their families, let alone go on to college."
Beckel, a Tri-Rivers Career Center Instructor, believes the combination of horticulture knowledge with education training opens up many possible career paths. "There are many opportunities besides the typical career center job. You are not limited to classroom teaching. For example, with a teaching degree you could be a training manager for a private company."