Atwater High students open blooming business on campus. Here’s what you should know.

Aaron Smith’s job at a new floral shop in Merced County is to double check the floral arrangements, make adjustments and help others.

The shop, which is called Falcon Floral, is a student-run enterprise at Atwater High School that will start selling arrangements Thursday.

“Right now, I’m learning a lot of responsibilities,” said Smith, a 16-year-old junior at Atwater High School. Students learn managerial and leadership skills, including how to direct co-workers and other students on the nuances of floral arrangements.

“It teaches them how to be a boss without being bossy,” said floral design instructor Kaylyn Davenport, who oversees the shop.

The floral shop is staffed by 19 students from Atwater High’s floral program, Davenport said. That includes five managers who will oversee operations for one weekday each.

Students from the school’s floral classes are creating arrangements for various events such as weddings, funerals and businesses that have ordered weekly floral deliveries. Orders are placed online only and proceeds go toward the Atwater High Agriculture Department and floral program.

In addition to honing their pruning skills and floral acumen, students are expected to learn skills in marketing, accounting, customer service and budgeting, Davenport said.

“The goal is for the students to become California certified florists” with the California State Floral Association, Davenport said. Those enrolled in the floral classes, which has expanded to about 200 students, may also earn fine art admissions credit for University of California and California State University campuses, according to the Atwater High Agriculture Department.

“In the classroom, we are instructed verbally,” Smith said. “But (the floral shop) is hands-on.”

Smith also hopes the floral shop is a resume builder that can help when applying for jobs.

Funding for the floral shop is provided by the Atwater High Agriculture Department and FFA, Davenport said. The shop has some initial costs, including getting a helium tank for balloons with the arrangements. But Davenport said the shop managers are confident the shop will be self-sustaining.

Anyone can order floral arrangements from the students’ floral shop by going to the shop’s website at