Quietly, she snips a stem, twists wire and puts a bright orange rose into a vase. She adds smoky blue delphiniums, and the arrangement pops with color.
Margaret Bugler, a member of the Capital Region BOCES Faculty Association, smiles. She and her floral design students are filling an order for a class reunion. Sometimes its a wedding, prom corsages or decorating a stage.
"Were open to the public," says Bugler, moving amid spools of ribbon, stacks of vases and blocks of floral foam. "The students do all live work."
Bugler also delivers heartfelt community service along with a profusion of petals.
A local hospice receives a large donation of leftover flowers every week. The volunteers, unsure of what to do with them, contacted Bugler. Her students showed them how to sort the flowers and which rough ones to throw out. Don't trash the roses with the droopy heads. Cut their stems and put them in a vase with hot water.
Students then helped the volunteers create arrangements and safely transport the flowers to hospitals and homes.
"Its an opportunity for the students to teach," Bugler says proudly. They have taught students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing, as well as students with special needs.
"I just love any experience that comes along," says Bugler.
The next one is just ahead. The class is going to design and plant a garden at Jacks Place, a Schenectady house being renovated as lodging for families who have sick relatives in nearby hospitals.
Originally, the BOCES floral design program had an afternoon session for students with special needs, but it was eliminated in budget cuts. Buglers job was sliced in half, and she lost a teaching assistant. But Bugler presses on with her goals, watering them, giving them sunshine and keeping them blossoming.
For more stories about NYSUT members, visit http://itswhatwedo.nysut.org.