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Horticulture student takes first place for design project at state conference

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Feb 22, 2018

College of Lake County horticulture student Jean Foley received a first-place award in a student design competition sponsored by the Illinois Landscape Contractors Association (ILCA).

Foley, a Waukegan resident, recently received the award at the ILCA’s annual conference in Schaumburg. The competition required participants to submit a landscape design for a 3,000 square-foot home in suburban Chicago. The competition was open to all high school and two-year college students in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Foley (right) produced a hand-drawn design that combined an aerial view, construction details and plant lists. Her design took first place based on several criteria, including Photo of Jean Foleyuse of plant materials, diversity of plant choices, quality of graphics and ability to meet the client’s needs.

“Landscape design is an intersection of the practical and the beautiful, so a designer must be both artist and problem solver,” said Paul Laiblin, CLC adjunct instructor of horticulture.“Jean solved the functional aspects of the design problem in a creative and sustainable way and melded hardscape elements seamlessly with an attractive planting scheme.”

Foley was one of two CLC honorable mentions in last year’s judging, and her latest award marks the second time in four years that a CLC student has place first in in the competition, said Rory Klick, horticulture department chair.

“Winning this award was an honor, and it validated that I’m on the right path for my future plans to use my landscape design skills,” said Foley, who earned an A.A.S. in horticultural production in 2016 and plans to earn a certificate in landscape design in May. “My CLC landscape design and horticulture instructors prepared me well for the competition, and I’m especially grateful to them for their time, support and encouragement.”

For more information on CLC’s horticulture program, visit