Mission High School established a new Floral Design CTE (Career & Technical Education) course this year exclusively for special needs students. For teacher Marcos J. Villarreal, an agricultural science teacher and Future Farmers of America advisor, it was a challenge that helped him grow as an educator.

“It was nervous and wrecking for me,” he said. “I was afraid I would not be able to meet the needs of every student that I had in my class.”

Villarreal says he works with students who have distinct individual needs as a result of varied cognitive, emotional and physical disabilities. His goal was to ensure that each student was able to be engaged and productive in the class in accordance with his, or her, abilities.

“These students have developed socially and academically through the different activities we learn to do in class on a daily basis. Working with these students has inspired me as an educator,” said Villarreal. “I look forward to continue being an advocate for [them] and being able to teach them important life-long lessons.”