Petal It Forward Makes Change at NHS


Woodbury FFA

Bianca Gracia, senior floriculture student, hands flowers to Nonnewaug secretary Lisa Gombos for the “Petal It Forward” event. This nationwide tradition occurs on Oct. 19 to spread positivity to others.

Emma Jones, Ag/FFA Reporter

WOODBURY – Many Chiefs noticed flowers going around the school building Oct. 19 and were not sure why. 

This is because of the annual October tradition called Petal It Forward. 

It was started in 2015 by the American Society of Florists to promote the idea that flowers make people happy.

Eric Birkenberger, the NHS floriculture teacher, has run the event each year at Nonnewaug to promote the positive benefits of flowers and improve the morale of the school and community.

Senior floriculture students Jamie Paige, left, and Nora Galvin, right, pose after giving flowers out to patrons at Ayla’s Bagels in Woodbury. Students went into the community to give flowers to shoppers at local stores in town alongside passing them out throughout the school. (Woodbury FFA)

“How it works is [that] you give somebody two bouquets, have them keep one for themselves, and pass the other one,” explained Birkenberger. “Although everyone reacts in different ways, some people just didn’t want to be bothered or thought that they had to buy the flowers. Since in this day in age nothing is free. People don’t know that kindness is always free.”

It can be hard to understand someone just coming up to you with a flower, but realizing that kindness is free shows that it’s not difficult to show thoughtfulness.

“This tradition really connects our students and staff by making everyone feel welcome and appreciated here,” says Mae Addeo, a sophomore floriculture student at Nonnewaug. 

Science has proven that flowers reduce stress and anxiety, and always make people happy. That’s why people give flowers to those they love or those in the hospital. They’ve always been around to make people smile.

“I think random acts of kindness, in general, are important, and Petal It Forward is proof of it – that some people even cried,” said Addeo. “Due to the fact of them being in a bad mood, the flowers just made their day.”

You never know when people are having a bad day, or just going through something, and showing kindness to everyone makes a difference in how people respect each other in our school community.