In Brett Williams horticulture class at Western High School there’s plenty of planting and landscaping, but that’s only part of what the students do.
"Well, one of the biggest things that we do is we teach the FNGLA industry certification, and if they pass that they get two years of college for free. Some of the other things that we do here is the plasma cutting and welding. Around the campus, we maintain the whole front of the school, we do all of the landscaping, and that's just a few of the things we do around here," said Williams.
The students handiwork can be found all over campus. There’s plasma art at the gym and on the softball field, and landscaping at the school’s 9-11 Memorial.
"Every year we'll landscape that and we'll add something to it, last year we cut out 'Never Forget' out of paver bricks. Every year we put on a great ceremony out here with fire stations so that no one ever forgets what happened," said Williams.
Mr. Williams’ students are clearly incredibly talented. They won first place this year at the Broward County fair and the South Florida fair in the landscaping categories. And one of the neat things about the program is that Mr. Williams lets some of his older students teach the younger ones.
"I find that students will listen to other students a lot better than they'll listen to teachers, when the students buy into your teaching method they'll buy into you, but I have my seniors teaching the younger students how to get on the lawnmower, how to use the Bobcat, and how to use the plasma cutter. I find that it's a lot easier to spread these lessons out with the students and have them learn that way. It also teaches the students that are teaching the students how to socialize and convey different things to those students," said Williams.
Not only is Mr. Williams a great teacher but he makes learning a whole lot of fun, and very interactive.
"He puts us in work settings that we may need to know for the future, its really a learning experience to be in his class," said Junior Anthony Petrillo.
"He's built a program here that is really super popular, all of the kids not only start it but they want to finish it and get their industry certification and a lot of that has to do with him, he really knows how to connect with them," said Principal Jimmy Arrojo.
So give it up for Brett Williams, planting the seeds and making sparks fly at Western. He's this week's super teacher and the recipient of two passes to Universal Orlando Resort.
(Prizes provided by Universal Orlando Resort™)