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KC floral design students attend symposium

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT
(Provided photo)
Kishwaukee College floral design students and faculty member Janet Gallagher attended the annual American Institute of Floral Design National Symposium held July 3 through 7 in Chicago. Pictured (from left) are Wendy Faley, Jamie Moore, Janet Gallagher and Sierra Blevins at the Symposium formal banquet.

Students and faculty from the Floral Design Program in the Kishwaukee College Horticulture Department attended the American Institute of Floral Design National Symposium held July 3 through 7 in Chicago.

Each year, the AIFD Symposium is attended by more than 1,200 floral designers, design instructors and design students from across the United States and Canada. Kishwaukee College Floral Design instructor Janet Gallagher attended the symposium with students Wendy Faley of Dixon; Jamie Moore of Dixon; and Sierra Blevins of Oregon.

The annual AIFD symposium features the only national student design competition for colleges and universities that have floral design programs. Kishwaukee College’s floral design students form one of only 15 student floral design organizations in the U.S. sanctioned by AIFD. Gallagher is the faculty adviser for the Student American Institute of Floral Design chapter at Kishwaukee College. 

The KC students competed with 44 other students from across the United States and Canada. Their test consisted of creating fresh flower arrangements in the following categories: sympathy, wedding, flowers to wear and art gallery opening. In the competition, the students were given a time limit to complete the design pieces. Each student was given a bucket of fresh flowers and could bring a toolbox with contest-specific items in it. 

The Kishwaukee team placed seventh in the competition, out of 13 schools from across the nation. Sierra Blevins placed seventh in wedding design and 10th in the flowers to wear category. Jamie Moore placed 10th in the flowers to wear category.

New this year was the opportunity for students to participate in a luncheon, “The Sole of AIFD.” Each student decorated a pair of shoes and brought them to the symposium. They then incorporated the shoes into a fresh centerpiece. There were 500 people in attendance at the luncheon and each student was able to “host” their table with a mentor from AIFD. In addition, AIFD continued its tradition of public service with the “Blooms Over Chicago” event. Designers distributed hand-tied floral bouquets to pedestrians and also visited the Ronald McDonald House and Unity Hospice to set up beautiful floral arrangements at those sites.

“I am so proud of our students,” Gallagher said in a news release. “They all competed at a wonderfully consistent level that demonstrates their commitment to good, solid design that creatively utilized design elements and principles. They also did a wonderful job of networking and represented Kishwaukee College with integrity and professionalism.”

The Floral Design program at Kish College offers a two-year program that leads to an Associates in Applied Science. The 68-hour program includes coursework in floral arrangement, floral marketing, floral operations and courses that emphasize specific designs, for example, sympathy or wedding arrangements. In addition students take coursework in greenhouse management, bedding plant production, and have an opportunity to gain experience working on a weekly flower sale on campus. There also is a 20.5 credit hour certificate program in Floral Horticulture.

For more information on the Floral Design Program at Kishwaukee College, call Janet Gallagher at 815-825-2086, ext. 4610, or visit

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