Bethel Middle School Mum Club makes it eight in a row

By David Curtis | Nov 19, 2013
Photo by: David Curtis The student's names are as follows from left to right: Alexis Sharp, Dylan Smith, Brooke Smith, Kaitlyn Eisenhardt, Lily Ensley, Darcie Justice, Avelon Morgan, Becky Clark, Crissy O'Neil, and Courtney Greene

Bethel Middle School Chrysanthemum Club scored a perfect 73 to win this year’s school’s division title at the North Carolina Chrysanthemum Society’s annual show.

It took every last point to beat the runner-up the Bullington Center of Hendersonville, who scored 67 points, in the closest completion in recent years. Bethel Middle School has won the title eight consecutive years.

The North Carolina Chrysanthemum Society started involving local high school horticulture programs in 2006 when one of the longtime members became ill and could no longer care for his plants.

The plants were farmed out to local schools that had greenhouses as part of their horticulture curriculums.  Bethel Middle School received 45 of the plants and was the only middle school selected to grow on the chrysanthemums and compete in the newly formed school division.

From 2006 to the 2013 show this past October, Bethel Middle School has won the Peggy Winter Trophy each year for top points awarded in the schools division of the Society’s annual show.  Each school enters 20 chrysanthemum blooms from across 13 different classifications.  The flowers are judged and awarded points based on how they place in each category.

This year’s Mum Club members include: Eighth graders – Becky Clark, Kaitlyn Eisenhardt, Courtney Greene, Crissy O’Neil and Brooke Smith; seventh grader – Darcie Justice; and sixth graders – Lily Ensley, Avelon Morgan, Alexis Sharp, and Dylan Smith.

The Mum Club has been meeting after school one day a week since the beginning of the school year staking, tying, fertilizing and disbudding the plants for the October show.  As the show neared the students learned how to cut and prepare the flowers for display and judging.

Part of this year’s show was also a schools competition using pompom mum varieties in an arrangement.  The arrangement by eighth-grade students Becky Clark, Kaitlyn Eisenhardt, Crissy O’Neil and Brooke Smith won top honors.

In late October Bethel Middle School Mum Club also sent flowers to the National Chrysanthemum Show in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.  The blooms earned the school a second place finish as Sweepstake’s Runner-up.

David Curtis, careers and biotechnology instructor at Bethel Middle, is the Mum Club’s advisor and snack provider.