students preparing for horticulture program

Students at Chattahoochee Tech Prepare for National Horticulture Competition

(­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Acworth, Ga. – Feb. 24, 2014) For 19 years Chattahoochee Technical College Instructor John Hatfield has helped coach one of the powerhouse teams in the national horticulture competition – PLANET Student Career Days. With fellow instructor Bejie Herrin, the two have guided their students to numerous top five wins in a competition that pits more than 800 students from across the country up against each other in such areas as plant identification, landscape design, cost estimating, irrigation and arboriculture to name a few. Under their leadership, Chattahoochee Technical College has become synonymous with success at the event.

“We’ve won as a team and had students win individually,” said Herrin. “Each year we impress upon our students that success isn’t guaranteed, but it is expected that they will try their best and work hard to carry on that tradition.”

The college’s team has finished in the top ten in the nation, including first place finishes overall in 2008 and 2010. Last year the team finished in fifth place. Chattahoochee Technical College was the only college or university from Georgia to crack the top five and highest finishing two-year college in the country.

Comprised of students from both the Horticulture and Environmental Technology programs, Chattahoochee Technical College’s team consists of 18 students. Half of the students competed in last year’s event at Auburn University. With 28 events at various locations on the campus of Colorado State University, over half of the team will be competing in three or more events. Among them will be Harry Allen of Acworth. Allen will be competing in five events, which makes him eligible to win the Superstar Student Award. Last year Allen was in the top 20 students at the event.

“Anyone studying horticulture or environmental technology is already a dedicated student with a path in mind,” said Hatfield. “These are students with specific career goals and dreams. Events like this help our students see where they stack up, but it also gives them the opportunity to talk to potential employers and see programs at other colleges and universities they might want to consider in the future.”

In addition to the competitive events of PLANET Student Career Days, students take part in workshops and seminars on the latest technology in the industry and best practices for their careers. There is also a large career fair where students can speak to local and national employers about jobs and internships.

“Our students learn from the hands on aspects of the event,” said Hatfield. “But they also learn from the speakers and talking with industry leaders. Everyone comes away with more knowledge that can be applied to classes at Chattahoochee Tech or at jobs in the industry.”

Name From Events
Brandee Alexander Woodstock Arboriculture Techniques, Computer Aided Landscape Design, and Interior Plant Identification
Harry Allen Acworth Construction Cost Estimating, Hardscape Installation, Irrigation Assembly, Irrigation Troubleshooting, and Landscape Plant Installation
Rich Chadwick Smyrna 3D Exterior Landscape Design, Wood Construction, Interior Landscape Design and Exterior Landscape Design
Adam Culpepper Kennesaw Landscape Maintenance Operations and Landscape Plant Installation
Robert Davis Roswell Arboriculture Techniques,
Paula DeVane Calhoun Annual & Perennial Identification
TJ DiGregorio Dallas Compact Track Loader Operation, Construction Cost Estimating, Landscape Maintenance Operations and Tractor Loader Backhoe Operation
Jillian Humphreys Euharlee Plant Problem Diagnosis and Woody Ornamental Plant Identification
Jim Humphreys Euharlee Business Management, Truck & Trailer Operation, and Compact Excavator Operation
Randy Johnson Marietta Maintenance Cost Estimating, Wood Construction and Small Engine Repair
Nathan Leeper Woodstock Landscape Plant Installation
David Lindsey Marietta Business Management
Keith Loggins Kennesaw Irrigation Design, Irrigation Assembly, and Irrigation Troubleshooting
John McGraw Smyrna Turf & Weed Identification
Chris Merrion Marietta Annual & Perennial Identification, Hardscape Installation, and Truck & Trailor Operation
Robin Olson Kennesaw Personnel Management
Stacy Schexnayder Kennesaw Leadership Skills, Personnel Management, and Sales Presentation
Kylie Thompson Marietta Interior Plant Identification, Plant Problem Diagnosis,

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