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Program for special needs students turns into flourishing Montreal business

Click to play video: 'Summit School’s flower program blossoms into business' Summit School’s flower program blossoms into business
WATCH: A flower program at a school for students with special needs is creating quite the buzz. As Global's Felicia Parrillo reports, what started off as a craft has now flourished into a business – and students are preparing a big order of orchids for Rosh Hashanah – Sep 5, 2018

It’s a busy time for Summit school students at the TECC campus downtown.

They’re preparing a big order of orchids for Rosh Hashanah.

Their teacher, Vicki Surplice, is leading the way.

Also a teacher’s assistant at Summit, Surplice coordinates Tecc Flora.

READ MORE: Montreal special needs students sell poppy cupcakes to benefit veterans

“I came here to experience how to work with children with learning differences and when I got here and they found out I did flowers. It started off as a craft session, and then turned into a full-time, vocational program,” she said.

The flower program helps special needs students ages 16 to 21 with social and vocational skills.

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It’s bloomed into something bigger than when it was created last September.

“People can order bouquets from us weekly,” Surplice said. “We’d like to get more contracts so we can have more weekly work. In the past, we’ve done weddings, baptisms, we’ve done birthday parties.”

READ MORE: Teen, let go from Subway, says coworkers made fun of his special needs

Almost every day of the week, students take turns in participating in the class.

They get orders, put arrangements together and even sometimes deliver them.

All of the money from the business goes back into the program and the school.

“Everybody has fun, we don’t worry about mistakes,” said student Shane Stevens. “It’s all about fun, making flowers and making them pretty.”

Though the business has only been operational for a few months, Surplice has big dreams for it.

She hopes it can one day blossom into a stand-alone company which will create jobs for these students outside of school.

You can order flowers from Tecc Flora by visiting the website.

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