A Community in Bloom

Danny Heitman
Sep 22, 2022

When Phi Kappa Phi held its national convention in Orlando, Florida this summer, attendees enjoyed a venue decorated with flowers to brighten the surroundings, including blue and white hydrangeas and white roses.

The plants made a beautiful tableau for the Aug. 4-6 gathering at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. But the floral displays still looked gorgeous after three days of dazzling the convention’s nearly 200 participants, and it seemed a shame for them to go to waste. After previous conventions, flowers have gone to a variety of institutions, including nursing homes and hospitals.

But this year, at the suggestion of Phi Kappa Phi’s floral contractor, Cheryl’s Distinctive Creations, the Society’s convention flowers were donated to Pine Hills Elementary in Orlando, a public school serving some 600 students from kindergarten through fifth grade. The blue and white hydrangeas seemed especially fitting for the campus since blue and white are Pine Hills' school colors.

As luck would have it, Darlene Walker of Cheryl’s Distinctive Creations delivered the flowers just as faculty and staff were gearing up for a new school year.

“Thank you for wearing your heart on your sleeve for the staff of Pine Hills Elementary,” Principal LaTonya Smathers said in a thank-you note sent to Phi Kappa Phi’s national office. “Your kind gesture motivated our staff to kick-start the new year with a heart filled with love!”

"We're delighted that the faculty, staff and students at Pine Hills Elementary in Orlando were able to enjoy the flowers that brightened our 2022 convention venue,” said Society Executive Director and CEO Bradley Newcomer. “Any time we can underscore Phi Kappa Phi's commitment to learning, that's a big plus for our members. In a few years from now, we hope that the young learners at Pine Hills can join our ranks as members, too."

The school motto at Pine Hills is “Begin with the End in Mind...Building our way to an ‘A.’”

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