For most high school students, a Capstone project usually focuses on potential college pursuits. But Leya Vohra, a junior this past year at Shelton High, decided to choose a different path with her work.
Vohra chose floral arranging, which, for her, was a unique topic that would offer new experiences.
“I also enjoy working with my hands and being able to achieve a final product as a result of my hard work,” said Vohra. “Learning how to create a pretty and professional design and exploring other areas of floral design allow me to do just this.
“Having attended various social functions that have included floral designs and other centerpieces,” added Vohra, “it has always intrigued me to understand the time, dedication and patience involved in preparing floral designs that become the backdrop that enhances the beauty of the moment.”
Vohra chose Lisa Alfonso, owner of Fruits & Flowers located in Bridgeport, as her mentor after seeing Alfonso and her team’s floral creations at various events that she had attended in the past.
“I was truly inspired,” said Vohra in describing Alfonso’s work. “Her role as a floral designer as well as a business owner also struck a high interest in me, as I wanted to learn the ins and outs of maintaining a small business in today’s economy.”
Vohra’s role throughout the internship was to aid the staff of Fruits & Flowers with their everyday tasks, during which the high school junior learned the rundown of the daily operations of the business, including how to prepare for special events and busy holidays.
For her 15 hours of fieldwork, Vohra said she learned the “front and back end of the business” — cutting and preparing shipments of flowers, working with clientele, and observing how to organize and design a floral arrangement.
“Since this was a topic I had no experience in, I was anxious and overwhelmed to work during the chaotic holidays,” said Vohra about the challenges she faced during the internship. “My mentor and colleagues were quick to assist me with this and provided me with helpful hints and support for my struggles. However, the biggest problem I faced was being surrounded by flowers and my allergies acting up constantly.”
Vohra said she walks away from this internship with a knowledge of the inner workings of small business operation.
“When working with clients, it is vital to establish a working rapport, to listen the client’s thoughts and details on how they envision their event, and to accommodate and accomplish a joyful event, all the while working within the budget and timeline of the client,” said Vohra.
“This experience was also beneficial to me because it taught me that no matter how busy and stressful planning an event may be,” added Vohra, “nothing is more rewarding than seeing the client enter the room full of happiness, pleasure and gratitude when they see their vision has been captured and a memorable event ensured.”