Deck the halls with wreaths and holly, fa la la

FALLS VILLAGE — Students, alumni, parents and the curious and civic-minded turned out in force for the FFA’s first production night of the Christmas season Thursday, Dec. 2, at Housatonic Valley Regional High School.

The workshop room in the agricultural education department at the high school was a wreath-making factory, with some groups dragging in trees, others clipping the boughs, others assembling bunches of greens and wiring them together for still others to work into wreaths.

Nick Burchfield of Salisbury (a sophomore) was a clipper. “They should be the length of a hand,� he said, demonstrating.

Nick Brazzale of Lakeville, an FFA alum (class of 2009), was on the bunch line. He said a fistful was about right for tying up and passing along to the next stage of production. He, too, demonstrated.

Alexa Curtiss, a junior, was working at a table with her leg propped up (she is recovering from an injury). She said the students would continue working on wreaths during class and after school.

The FFA students have a couple of motives for working hard: to raise money, and to get a good grade, Curtiss said. (Grades are based on production, work ethic, sales and hours.)

The FFA hopes to beat last year’s tally of $55,000 by $5,000.

Curtiss said the greenhouse is full of poinsettias. “We’ve got a million of them.� And at $12 a pop, they represent an inexpensive way to add a festive touch on the home front.

“It’s the best time of the year,� continued Curtiss. “It’s just awesome, it’s so much fun.�

Teacher Mark Burdick, supervising the busy floor, said more than 160 students were participating — not all of them FFA members necessarily.

Apparently pitching in on production night is seen as a cool thing to do for students.

“A great night is 50 wreaths,� said Burdick of the expectation for that night’s production line.

The store is open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily through Dec. 23. The next production night is Wednesday, Dec. 8, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Everyone is invited to come and help out; there is no better way to learn how to make a wreath.

Samantha Rand of Salisbury, a sophomore, showed shoppers around the greenhouse Friday morning. “Poinsettias are a holiday plant,� she said. “They’ll last if they stay inside; if they have to go outside they should be wrapped up.�

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