Valley Center School teacher Cheryl Whitehurst’s “happy flower” project started as a lesson in science.
“We were doing recycling and I had seen an entrance at the Grand Rapids Art Prize that caught my eye to do with recycling plastic water bottles,” she said. “Each of my students, under my direction, made a flower - and I thought this would be the end of it! As it turns out, staff and bus drivers all thought the flowers were adorable and offered to purchase them. Thus started the 'happy flower' (just looking at them makes you smile) project.”
Initially, Cheryl discussed it with her staff -- Lisa Moden and Ranee Dukes -- and they thought that if they could sell enough, they could fund an end-of-school activity for their students. So they pitched the idea to their students, who agreed to help make more.
The project became another learning opportunity as they went on to discuss assembly lines in factories and how each part is necessary in the production line. They also discussed quality control. Different students had different strengths in the areas of preparing the bottles, painting them and cutting them and were assigned accordingly.
“Many of the students find the painting quite therapeutic after a busy morning of academics,” Cheryl said. “We showcased the flowers during parent conferences and sold several of them. We then started receiving orders for specific colors -- sports teams, college colors and just individual requests for favorite color combinations. The project has 'blossomed'!
A local corner-store owner, who is a great supporter of Valley Center School, purchased 50 happy flowers to sell at his store and has subsequently purchased another 50.
“Needless to say, our initial goal of selling 60 flowers has been surpassed and we are now at over 200 and the orders just keep coming!” Cheryl said. “We will keep selling until the orders stop coming in -- or until school is over.”
They also have plans for Christmas flowers and are looking into the possibility of having a Valley Center School booth at the Wings Stadium Christmas craft fair. Please contact Cheryl Whitehurst for more information.