Woodbury students learn funeral intricacies

The following appeared in The Republican-American - https://www.rep-am.com/

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Woodbury students learn funeral intricacies

BY STEVE BIGHAM Republican-American


Professional florist and former Nonnewaug High School vo-ag student Justine Ramsey, center, assists students Alyssa DeMarest, left, and Emma Alexander with floral arrangements for a mock funeral at the school Friday in Woodbury. Steve Bigham Republican-American


WOODBURY — Floral students in Nonnewaug High School’s agriscience program spent this week designing and creating arrangements for a mock funeral.

Teacher Eric Birkenberger said it gives students hands-on experience in how a florist might operate while preparing for a funeral.

As part of the activity for the program’s sympathy and funeral unit, students were given a fake obituary for a “Mrs. Bella Donna.” They were tasked with pulling certain information from the obituary, such as the person’s interests and hobbies, heritage and military background, to create the most appropriate floral arrangements.

The flowers were then placed alongside a casket that was loaned to the school by Munson-Lovetere Funeral Home of Woodbury.

Birkenberger noted funerals can represent as much as 50% of a florist’s business. Students were assisted by Stephanie Fusco of Terry’s Flower Shop in Naugatuck and Justine Ramsey of Floral Designs by Justine in Bethlehem.

Birkenberger said he holds the mock funeral every other year as part of a rotating curriculum that also includes a mock wedding.


Nonnewaug High School senior Lauren Smith creates a floral cross in preparation for a mock funeral Friday in Woodbury. Steve Bigham Republican-American


Junior Jamie Paige and senior Jack Wolf place a floral arrangement at the foot of a casket as part of a mock funeral Friday at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury. Steve Bigham Republican-American