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Silsbee High School student invited to an exclusive Floral Design Retreat in South Carolina

Heather McMillin

May 16, 2022 - Silsbee High School student, Heather McMillan, is preparing for a trip of a lifetime. The junior has been invited to attend an exclusive Floral Design Retreat in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Inspired Designs Retreat is held by leading professionals in the field to help inspire, develop, and rejuvenate others in the field.  

McMillan was offered a scholarship to attend the retreat by HBO’s Full Bloom Star, Ace Berry.

“I was absolutely beyond speechless! I was so excited my mouth dropped to the floor and everything went blank! I had no clue Ace had been talking with Champagne about me and I didn’t even know he knew my name,” said Heather McMillan, a junior at Silsbee High School.

Berry visited Silsbee High School in September 2021 to demonstrate different styles of floral arrangements and designs. He was impressed with McMillan’s designs and offered her a scholarship to the retreat.

Heather McMillin

While there, she will design toe to toe with some of the nation’s best floral designers.

“I was shocked and honored that someone of Ace's caliber would acknowledge the talents of a budding artist. Heather has fallen in love with the floral industry and I'm so excited that she will be able to see different aspects of the industry through this event,” said SHS Floral Design teacher, Courtney Champagne.

McMillan started taking Floral Design classes at SHS as a freshman. Champagne called McMillan a diamond in the rough.

“I knew after her first couple of designs that this little shy freshman had a lot more to give. So, as a teacher often does, I pushed her out of her comfort zone to make bigger and bolder designs. Heather is a junior now, and she is still a soft-spoken student, but when it comes to her artistic flair she is loud and proud of what she is able to accomplish,” said Champagne.

Heather McMillin

McMillan said the retreat will help her grow as a designer.

“I am so excited to meet everyone and learn so many new things to bring home and share with everyone,” said McMillan.

So, what does this type of recognition mean for the future of Floral Design at Silsbee ISD? Mrs. Champagne had this to say.

“It means that I'm going to need more space. Ha-ha! A lot of students have taken notice of our little floral program and see that you can accomplish many things through this CTE Course. My garden is blooming with talent. I'm so blessed and honored to have students like Heather that can take the skills that I have taught them to enhance their future,” said Champagne.

Hether McMillin

According to Mrs. Champagne, McMillan is the first high school student [to her knowledge] that has been asked to attend one of these exclusive retreats.

The floral design retreat is October 10-12, 2022.