Located in a community with a thriving nursery industry, Mary G. Montgomery has a strong horticulture program, with students growing everything from ferns to corn. Now the school’s greenhouses will be getting a facelift thanks to the generosity of a local public official.
State Rep. Jack Williams, who founded Tom Dodd Nursery in Semmes with his son, presented the school with a check for $26,000 last week to fund upgrades and refurbishing of the school’s greenhouses.
“It means so much to the community here,” said Williams, noting that many residents in the Semmes community buy produce and flowers from the MGM program. “This is a heavy nursery area. I’m in the nursery business myself – or my son is now since I retired – and it’s very important to us to see this business thrive and see these kids learn what to do.”
Williams added that Mary G. Montgomery’s program is preparing students for an industry that carries a lot of opportunity for jobs locally. “There’s a lot of opportunities in nurseries,” Williams said. “Skilled labor is hard to find. There are a lot of grants out there if the kids want them … to go into this type of thing.”
Mary G. Montgomery horticulture teacher and FFA advisor Emily Dent said the funds will be put to good use in refurbishing the greenhouses and adding safety features.
“I cannot thank Mr. Jack Williams enough for this donation. It’s going to be used to really do some great improvements on the seven greenhouses that we have,” Dent said. “Agriculture, horticulture, is of utmost importance in this community. … It just shows through our students.”