From Florist to FFA Advisor


Mrs. Smith posing with her daughter, senior Kaitlin Smith, on the first day of school. (Photo courtesy of Patty Smith)

Jessica Smith, Editor in Chief

Warren Hills welcomes back their very own Patty Smith as the new agricultural teacher and FFA Advisor.

Not only is she a Warren Hills alumna and FFA Advisor, but she also teaches three courses of CP Environmental Sciences and has run her local floral shop for 38 years. She said she owes her passion for the agriculture field to her father, yet another Warren Hills alumnus, and her settings as she grew up.

“Because my father was an Agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor, farmer, and landscaper, I grew up interested in the field.  I had my own small greenhouse in high school and took my first floral design class in 8th grade,” said Smith.  “In 1984, my junior year, we opened Family Affair Florist, Lawn Care, and Landscaping.”

After years of running her floral business, Smith was offered a position teaching.

“One of my favorite things about my new job is the people I work with.  It was daunting to make a career change after 34 years of owning a business, but everyone has been so very welcoming and helpful that I feel very much a part of the Warren Hills Community,” she said.

Smith said that Science teacher Alexandra Helle has been a wonderful mentor.

“My mentor, Mrs. Helle, and all of the faculty and staff have been so helpful and supportive that, although challenging, it has been very rewarding,” she said.

Smith also brought up some of the challenges to her career change.

“Teaching is really different from owning your own business. I may have the subject knowledge to succeed as a teacher, but there has been a lot to learn when it comes to the ‘business of being a teacher,’” she said.  “Just trying to figure out the deadlines, the education abbreviations, the forms, and something as simple as posting grades has been a real challenge.”

Aside from what she faces in the classroom, Smith herself is a student.

She said, “I am also enrolled in college for teacher certification, so juggling college classes and homework along with life and a new career has been hard.”

Although there are challenges, she said, Smith stays optimistic and praises all of the kindness she has received about the improvements of the program since she started.

“One of the biggest pros of this career is how supportive all of the faculty and staff have been of the Agriculture Program here at Warren Hills,” she said.

Dedicating her life to the field and being able to share her passion for it has been a very rewarding aspect.

“I have always enjoyed sharing my enjoyment of agriculture with children and young adults through Girls Scouts, 4H, and volunteering with the high school FFA,” she said.  “Now, I get to share this with students on a daily basis, and I absolutely love it.”