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Students hope plant project grows into cash

April 11, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

Whether building shelves or disposing of dead leaves, Washington County Technical High School seniors say their hours in a greenhouse have planted one major message:

"Think like a plant."

Entrepreneurship students in Steve Frame's class at Tech High will spend the next several weeks showing off and selling what they have learned when the greenhouse opens its doors to customers. Sale hours are Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.

"We're running it as a school-based business," Frame said Monday as customers browsed the greenhouse's narrow aisles of petunias, begonias, geraniums and vegetable plants.

Students in the school's two elective entrepreneurship classes researched, ordered, planted, watered and arranged thousands of plants as part of a project that began in the fall, Frame said. Since the first seeds and plugs arrived the last week in February, thousands of blossoms have appeared on dozens of varieties of perennials and annuals.

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Tending and selling the plants gives students an opportunity to see hands-on how a business grows, Frame said.

For Amy Andrews, who said she has little interest in plants, the entrepreneurship class has shown what it is like to start a business. While she said she is considering creating and selling auto decals, the 18-year-old graphics communications student said she saw a few transferable lessons in what she has gained in the greenhouse.

She has learned one thing: "Treat the plant like you would want to be treated."

A repeat customer, Bev Lanehart said Monday she had come out to support the students' endeavors. She said she also bought plants last year when the greenhouse reopened after falling into disrepair.

"I came over here for years and years until they shut it down, but since they revitalized it, that's a good thing," Lanehart said.

With Easter and Mother's Day coming up, Cody Moore, 17, said the sale comes at a perfect time. As a student in Frame's class, Cody said he has learned a sense of accountability taking care of the plants in the greenhouse.

"The best thing about working here is I know exactly what I'm getting the women in my family for the holidays," said Cody, a Hancock High School student.

Barb Frame, a retired teacher and Steve Frame's mother, said she has been impressed with students' efforts in the greenhouse. She and her husband, Dick Frame, regularly drive from their home south of Morgantown, W.Va., to help out with the plants, she said.

Customers will have their pick of about 75 varieties of plants, she said. Prices range from $2 to $15, she said.

With a litany of plants at the top of her wish list, Lanehart spotted something else she needed amid rows and rows of pansy flats.

"They're just saying buy me, buy me, buy me," she told a student who was helping customers navigate the greenhouse.

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