2019 team members were, Front Row, Left to Right: Ethan Allen, Lily House, Stephanie Smith, and Craig Thurmond. Back Row, Left to Right: Juan Navarrete, Daniel Gamble, Hector Balderas, and Corey McDonald.
The North Georgia Technical College Horticulture Department recently traveled to the 43rd Annual National Collegiate Landscape Competition held at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Team members attending this year’s competition were Hector Balderas of Mountain City, Daniel Gamble of Mt. Airy, Stephanie Smith of Toccoa, Juan Navarrete of Clarkesville, Corey McDonald of Toccoa, Ethan Allen of Cleveland and Lilly House of Demorest.
The competition is an annual three-day powerhouse event which brings together the top landscape and horticulture students, top industry companies and dozens of the biggest industry manufacturers and suppliers from across the country. Each year more than 700 students from two- and four-year colleges demonstrate their skills in real-world, competitive events and have the opportunity to network with top companies at the largest career fair in the industry.
This year, NGTC’s team placed 27th nationally out of 62 schools, maintaining their status in the top 30 teams in the nation for the seventh year in a row. In addition, North Georgia Tech had 3 students to rank in the top 30 in the country, out of almost 800 students. Hector Balderas ranked 9th, Daniel Gamble ranked 11th, and Stephanie Smith ranked 27th. Smith also captured the win for the National T-shirt Design Contest, and received a cash award for her design for this year’s competition logo.
“This was a great surprise to have three students in the top 3% of the entire country. Only one other team had three top-30-ranked students, and that school was the National Winner,” commented NGTC Horticulture Instructor Craig Thurmond. “The NGTC team made us all very proud and reminded us that even though we are a small school, we are capable of competing and holding our own with the biggest and best Horticulture programs in the country.”
(at left) T-Shirt Design Winner, Stephanie Smith, on stage accepting her award.
Shown at right, Smith's winning design)