WESTFIELD – Despite the ongoing pandemic, the Westfield Technical Academy successfully hosted its annual plant sale.
Originally scheduled for May 8 to 10, the sale was so popular that the Westfield Technical Academy’s Facebook page announced that they had sold out of all the plants before the first day finished and the next two days of the sale were canceled.
Nate Sperry, the lead instructor at Westfield Tech, said the COVID-19 threw a wrench into the plans for the sale like it has done to countless other events. He said, “It’s been a real challenge, and obviously we want to respect the social distancing guidelines and wear the proper personal protective equipment. And with respect to timing, it’s been difficult because we weren’t really sure if we were going to be able to have a plant sale.”
In order to maintain the current guidelines, the staff at the sale was required to wear masks and gloves and they limited the number of people that could come into the sale area at any given time.
Between potted plants, hanging plants, foliage, planters and flower baskets there was plenty on display for residents to pick up to decorate their homes.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the biggest differences in this year’s sale was the lack of student input. Sperry said, “The kids were involved with setting up with planting all of the plants and filling the pots. But since they are not allowed on campus, we have been running it without their input. We’re missing the hands-on portion right now and that’s a shame.”
He added that trying to keep the students involved and continuing learning during this time has been a challenge. “It’s been a real challenge, especially as a vocational teacher since most of our teaching is done from a hands-on perspective and we lost that. But there is a lot we’ve been able to do with respect to getting our kids licensure,” he said.
Perry said that one of the things he looks forward to the most with the sale every year is seeing people come support the students. He said, “I always look forward to seeing the community come to our plant sale and support us. It means a lot to the students and it shows that there is value in what they are learning and their work.”