JACKSON TWP.  It’s become a tradition in Jackson Township to start the holiday season off by stopping by the Holiday Showcase at Jackson High School. The annual winter plant sale this year is 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Nov 21. Parking is behind the high school next to the greenhouse.

The juniors and seniors in school's the horticulture classes work hard every year to provide a large variety of quality fresh and silk floral arrangements. There will be 425 live poinsettias in a variety of colors such as red, white, marbled, cinnamon, pink, glitter and Jingle Bells.

Shoppers will also find fresh boxwood trees and wreaths and fresh evergreen wreaths. Plus, the group has designed and put together 50 wreaths of all sizes, shapes, themes and colors.

Add to that inventory, many novelty items such as decorated trees, swags, centerpieces and other impressive decorations to help bring in the cheer of the holiday season. Jackson High School instructor Roy Dria said the students started working with the poinsettias in late September and have been working since October to design and create top quality, beautiful holiday decorations.

"The students have this chance every year to really show off their talents with this showcase," Dria said. "It’s more about exposing the students to as many possibilities for a career in horticulture. The students get the chance to broaden their skills base and gain experience for the workplace. It’s also a fundraiser and the students have voted every year for the past six years to save the proceeds to buy an outdoor shed."

Dria said his program has purchased a shed from the construction class at Jackson High School. He said the building should last at least 50 years. The shed will be paid 100 percent by the monies made from the past six years’ worth of the holiday show and the spring plant sales.

"The building will be insulated with a concrete floor," Dria said. "There will be solar panels to provide power to it and there will be two insulated garage doors on it. There are many community partners who has worked with the class over the years that have helped with things like giving us a good price on the garage doors."

The group always has popular live plants for sale such as cyclamen, Amarillo’s, North Fork Island Pines, Christmas cactus and, of course, the poinsettias. Dria said there is an exact science to getting the poinsettias ready for the holiday season and his students always excel at getting plants with lots of color.

"The students prepare for the wreath making in several ways too," Dria said. "They research the trending design styles, popular colors and those that go together and the different themes that people are looking for."

The class prepares students to enter any number of careers such as working in greenhouses, landscape maintenance and some design, hardscapes or floral design. He had one student go to college to for journalism because she wants to work as a horticulture and agriculture journalist.

"We couldn’t do this without the support of the community," Dria said. "It’s a win-win because the shoppers get good quality and professionally done plants, arrangements and decorations at a great price. Students get hands-on experiences that will stay with them for rest of their lives."