Students focus more on academics as vocational training changes

Bethany J. Royer

January 31, 2014

By Bethany J. Royer

Staff Writer


Editor’s Note: This is part eight of a continuing series on donations and the Upper Valley Career Center. Part one ran Saturday, Nov. 30, part two Dec. 7, part three Dec. 21, part four Dec. 28, part five Jan. 11, part six Jan. 18. and part seven on Jan. 25.

PIQUAA lot has changed over the last 25 years at the Upper Valley Career Center, says Terry Krogman, instructional supervisor. In the past there were only two academic required classes allowing for three hours in the lab and a related period on theory.

Today, students have two hours and 40 minutes in labs, with the rest of the day dedicated to academics.

“And over the years the requirements were more academics with English, math and so forth, which takes away from the core-tech side, a little disheartening,” continued Krogman as he led the way to the Horticulture and Landscape Management class where students learn everything from nursery/greenhouse growing and propagation, to earning certification in nursery tech and small engine operation. This only names a few of the many potentials a student taking this very lab-intensive or hands-on course can pursue, and as one quickly learns the industry has its own fair share of high-tech usage and it is all under the care of John Kreitzer, program instructor.

“You can see right now we are in flower mode,” explained Kreitzer who at the time had students creating flower arrangements for the impending Thanksgiving holiday that included designs with fall coloring and even pumpkins. As the program is a broad overview of anything and everything in the green industry. Whether that is learning the very basics such as what is a plant, how it grows and what it needs to grow, to landscape design and growing plants in the program’s very own greenhouse.

“It’s pretty impressive,” said Kreitzer of the high-tech thus fully-automated, computerized greenhouse located behind the Upper Valley CC property. “If it gets too hot, the AC turns on, gets too cold the heat and fans turn on.” And given the instructor travels from Lima it helps that the greenhouse also has automated watering and control over artificial lighting. “It’s nice to be able to not worry about it.”

Krogman explained how the students do many seasonal related projects such as Valentine’s Day and Sweetest Day, and producing a large spring sale.

Starting in February, students will spend nearly every day in the greenhouse for the spring sale, according to Kreitzer, beginning with seeds and producing favorites such as geraniums and petunias.

“As much as I can, they do it all,” said Kreitzer of all the work necessary to propagate plants for the sale, such as preparation for working with poinsettias, a popular plant for the holiday season, with students learning the precarious nature of developing its well-known, vibrant red color. The care that must be taken to bring out the well-known and expected red foliage according to how much light they receive. In fact, the greenhouse was under “wraps” at the time of the Daily Call tour so even lights from vehicles being parked during football games in the evening would not interfere with their transformation.

“There’s lot more to it than I even thought,” said Kreitzer.

Bethany J. Royer may be reached at 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall