BIG SANDY, Texas (KLTV) - A teacher from Big Sandy Independent School District recently put her years of experience in horticulture and landscape design into good use after she and her daughter were invited to the White House to help design the First Ladies’ Luncheon.
Tina Rosenbalm and her daughter, Courtney, were among the applications chosen for a five-day trip to Washington D.C. to help prepare for the annual event.
“We were both really excited to be selected; she found she was going to be selected first,” said Rosenbalm. “I was kind of disappointed. But, a few days later, I found out I was selected, so I was excited we both got to go."
The luncheon is hosted by the Congressional Club, a group made up primarily of the spouses of U.S. representatives, and it’s purpose to honor the First Lady each year. This year’s theme was Indianapolis 500, chosen by the head designer to represent the chairman of Congressional Club’s home state.
Rosenbalm has experience teaching horticulture, agriculture, floral and landscape design classes, as well as business on the high school level; her daughter has similar experience from her time as Sam Houston State University.
“We started out by bringing in all the product that was donated by farmers who grow cut flowers, and they donated 21,000 stems of flowers, and we took that and made all the arrangements with it,” Rosenbalm explained.
Rosenbalm said the group of 31 florists, farmers, and decorators she was apart of had 150 tables to create centerpieces for, 2 floral walls for picture taking opportunities, and a special arrangement designated for the First Lady’s table, among other projects.
“It was a lot of work, there were about 31 of us in the group who all worked to do our designing, so we were very tired each day," said Rosenbalm. “But we were honored by the Congressional Club because they let us come to the event and participate like we were just guests.”
Special tables were set aside for the designers to sit at, and the luncheon featured several guest singers, including Lee Greenwood, who performed his hit song, “God Bless the USA."
“That was impressive to us,” Rosenbalm recalled.
However, the one thing Rosenbalm said she would reflect most fondly on were the group members who helped make the process such a memorable experience.
“What really was touching was to go and meet the other people who were part of the team” Rosebalm said. “To build that relationship, to be apart of where we all came together and shared our skills... that was a great opportunity.”