One of the most significant annual events in Philadelphia each year is the Philadelphia Flower Show. It is the largest flower show in the country and one of the largest in the world. This year floral artists from all over the world came to compete with each other in a three-phase contest to create their own creative floral display. The show was significant and impressive. For many of us it also brought a taste of spring after many days of dreary winter weather.
What is very special is the fact that the Lakeside School Greenhouse, under the leadership of Jon Klinger, created a display that was titled “Green Spaces in Wee Places.” This display was categorized in the education division. Lakeside was in the same division as some universities and other much larger organizations. When I attended the show I was impressed with the artistry and detailed nature of Lakeside’s display. It was awarded a silver medal and many of the 225,000 visitors photographed it and enjoyed the many aspects of its complexity. Flowers, vegetables, herbs, dinner seating, music, pavers, grass and many other innovations were all part of the display.
This display was created by Lakeside students and staff. Together they coordinated all of its details, drove it down to the Flower Show, took 4 days to construct it, maintained it for 10 days and manned the display to talk about Lakeside School to visitors and on-lookers. Lakeside’s students were absolutely stellar in communicating to the thousands of visitors how the display was constructed. They enjoyed the dialogue with all those who appreciated their artistry and work efforts.
This past Friday we had an awards ceremony to celebrate the amazing work and achievements by both staff and students in their various efforts at the Show. We were privileged to have Sam Lemheney, Vice President and Chief of Shows for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. Sam is the Executive Producer of the Philadelphia Flower Show. He was affirming and supportive of our school and our students. We were able to give our students and staff affirmation and awards for their amazing accomplishments in this year’s exhibit.
As I reflected on all that happened with the students, I reminded them of how often we are told that our goals may be unrealistic and/or unachievable. In this instance these couple of students from our small school collectively applied their creative design capability and hard work to create a display that was judged by international judges to be both esteemed and an example of silver medal quality! It was a huge accomplishment for our students and staff. It is a great reminder that although there can be significant challenges in life we have the capacity to meet those challenges if we apply our creativity, strengths, hard work and support of each other.
This is a great life lesson for our students and for all of us. Most of us face varied forms of adversity. We can often be told that we cannot achieve certain goals but quite honestly with the right resources, supportive people, innovation and hard work our goals are within reach and sometimes we achieve objectives that we never dreamed possible! Congratulations to Lakeside School students and staff for their great accomplishment!