ABAC students are part of the First Lady’s floral design team | New


TIFTON – Maddie McDonald and Kira Buckner, two agricultural education graduates at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, have been selected as floral design assistants for First Lady Jill Biden’s recent congressional luncheon.

McDonald, a junior from Dublin, and Buckner, a sophomore from Covington, spent three days in Washington, DC, in October, preparing for the event, university officials said in a statement.

“The selection for the Congress design team is an honor and a great professional development opportunity for these students,” said Dr Frank Flanders, ABAC’s agricultural education program coordinator. “These are the kind of engaged activities that ABAC encourages for students. As members of the design team, Maddie and Kira have worked alongside some of America’s top designers.

Flanders nominated McDonald’s for lunch in 2020 ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic due to its talent in floral design and involvement in floral events.

McDonald was told by Dave Pruitt, CEO of the American Grown Cut Flower Organization, of his selection. Unfortunately, the event was canceled due to the pandemic.

Flanders nominated McDonald again this year and added Buckner to their nomination. Both have been accepted.

McDonald said she was extremely excited to be a part of the event. She said the experience changed her view of the horticulture and floral design industry.

“I’ve learned that consumers spend almost $ 27 billion a year on floral products, and although the majority of consumers prefer to buy locally grown flowers, only a small percentage sold in the United States is grown here,” he said. McDonald said. “As a future agricultural education teacher, I will try to advocate for everyone around me to look at where the flower bouquets in their grocery store are coming from and only ask their florist for flowers grown in the United States. . “

Buckner said there were around 1,600 people in attendance for the lunch, including the first lady, Dr Jill Biden and the second gentleman Douglas Emhoff.

“I had a great experience in Washington, DC, and I feel like I learned a lot,” Buckner said. “I really feel more confident in my design skills. “

McDonald and Buckner helped create 170 centerpieces and two arches for the photos from the event. In 2019, ABAC student Brittany Braddy, a major in higher agricultural education from Mount Vernon, attended as a floral design assistant for lunch.

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