You’ve probably been told that your experience in FFA can help prepare you for a successful career. Don’t believe it? Just ask Elizabeth Kavianian of Norco, Calif.
She took an introductory floral design class during her freshman year at Norco High School, where she developed a love for designing floral arrangements. Today, she owns a thriving small business, EK Floral Design, that was named California’s 60th Assembly District’s Small Business of the Year in June.
“I began EK Floral Design toward the end of my junior year in 2015,” Kavianian says. “I found that I had strengths in designing and an absolute passion for it. I was always academically pushing myself in school, and this field gave me an outlet to use my artistic side to create something beautiful.”
Kavianian also joined her school’s floral team and competed against other teams across California, making it to state finals every year.
“Elizabeth was a high-achieving student in high school with a desire to become a doctor. Her hour in floral design during the school day gave her a space to be creative, decompress and develop industry skills,” says Robin Grundmeyer, the Norco FFA advisor. “Elizabeth also experienced a tremendous amount of success on the floriculture team at Norco High School. She mentored younger members, which allowed the team to have many years of success.”
Now a student at University of California, Riverside, Kavianian continues to operate EK Floral Design. She arranges flowers for seasonal events and weddings.
“I absolutely love creating the bride’s bouquet,” she says. “The experience of handing a bride her bouquet on a day that is somewhat stressful but seeing her be filled with joy is a moment I look forward to.”
Being named California’s Small Business of the Year came as “a complete shock” to Kavianian.
“I did not expect this recognition,” she says. “Knowing people see my hard work and accomplishments, especially as a millennial, resonates with me deeply.”
Kavianian plans to pursue a career in medicine and has been able to use the money she has earned from her floral business (which started as her supervised agricultural experience) to help with college expenses.
“To see Elizabeth experience such a high level of success at such an early age is impressive,” Grundmeyer says. “She’s been able to maintain her excellent GPA as a college student, work part-time as an event florist, and run a floral business of her own. I’m particularly proud that even though Elizabeth is pursuing a career in the medical industry, she has found value in agriculture and knows the skills she learned in our department will transfer to her desired career.”