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photo of Courtney McCollough, a floral student with Down Syndrome

Opportunity

Texas Student Living With Disability Blossoms in Floral Class

Courtney McCollough can do amazing things with flowers. And, thanks to a course at her high school, flowers are doing amazing things for her.

“She started doing really well at her floriculture class,” her mother, Debbie McCollough, said. “She was really enjoying it and we noticed the more things she did in class, the more confident she became in what she could do.”

Floriculture is an elective at McKinney-Boyd High School and students are tested on both their knowledge of flowers and their flower-arranging skills. The McColloughs were told that the curriculum might be challenging for their daughter, who has Down Syndrome, but the 18-year-old wanted to try it.

When the semester ended, Courtney McCollough had the highest grade in the class and a new assuredness about what she could do with her life.

“She seemed very excited about it from the minute she started the course,” Debbie McCollough said.

McCollough’s talent in floral design was a pleasant surprise. She’d been excited about other school electives, like dance and choir, but the floriculture program brought out a new level of artistry, her mother said. With floriculture, she — for lack of a better word — blossomed.

“When they told us how well she did, I was so happy I cried,” Debbie McCollough said. “Of course, I would see her coming home with her arrangements and I’d think ‘Wow, she’s really good at this!’ We’re really very proud of her.

The McKinney-Boyd High School horticulture / floriculture course is one of many educational programs across the state providing students with firsthand experience in agricultural occupations.

“Now, whenever we pass a florist, she tells everybody ‘I’m going to work in a floral shop’. As far as a job, that’s something she’d really like to do.”

Providing new challenges and opportunities for Texas students — it’s another way Agriculture is Your Culture.