TIFTON–Maddie McDonald, an agricultural education major at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, has been selected to First Lady Melania Trump’s Congressional Luncheon floral design team.
McDonald, a freshman from Dublin, will spend three days in Washington D.C. this summer preparing for the event, culminating in her attendance at the luncheon with the First Lady.
“Selection for the congressional design team is an honor and excellent professional development opportunity for Maddie,” Dr. Frank Flanders, ABAC’s agricultural education program coordinator, said. “These are the type of engaged activities that ABAC encourages for students. As a design team member, Maddie will work alongside some of the top designers in the U.S.”
Flanders nominated McDonald because of her talent in floral design and involvement in floral events. McDonald was notified by Dave Pruitt, CEO of the American Grown Cut Flower Organization, of her selection. She was chosen out of a pool of applicants from across the United States.
“I feel honored to be selected to attend this event to work with the rest of the First Lady’s design team,” McDonald said. “I would have never guessed I would get this once in a lifetime experience.”
Heavily involved in her FFA Chapter at West Laurens High School where she began developing her floral design skills, McDonald competed in both floral design and floriculture events.
“I am fortunate that ABAC gives students the opportunity for engaged learning to apply what we learn in the classroom to real world situations,” McDonald shared.
McDonald credits her agriculture teacher, Kasey Jackson, and Central Region Horticulture Specialist, Melissa Riley, for their encouragement in the floral design and agricultural education fields.
Last year, Brittany Braddy, a sophomore agricultural education major, participated in the event.
“Participating on the First Lady’s Floral Design Team was an invaluable opportunity,” Braddy said. “To me, this is what ‘engaged learning’ is all about, learning by doing, and in this case learning from the top designers in the United States. To participate in such an historic event was priceless.”